Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Bye Blizzard

Its all over the internet, twitter, plenty of youtube videos.
Blizzard made a mistake I cannot continue to support.
I've been enjoying Classic, though my time in Retail has been realistically over for years now.
My main account has been continually subscribed since I started it in 2005 or 2006 and my secondary account for nearly as long, except when the credit card behind it was cancelled and I didn't notice the missed subscription for ages! Regardless, thats many thousands of dollars spent on their games.

No more.

I'm not ragequitting and deleting my stuff or anything and may continue playing the games I have already paid for but two WoW subs removed as of a few hours ago. Now that Destiny has gone from the Bliz launcher I have even less reason to log on.

Human rights matters. Freedom of speech matters! Never capitulate to authoritarian regimes.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Tirisfal Tower

I like exploring the zones in classic wow more than the current version. Attempting to get into areas that you aren't really supposed to is fun, as is finding some of the obscure, out of the way things.
In western Tirisfal Glades, there is a particular spot on the cliff wall where you can run up and from there you can get into an area that hasn't been properly textured. Its an interesting area with one very deadly hole in the ground. I found what I think is the entrance path again on classic today. The glitch to get in there worked most reliably while mounted and was nearly impossible if just on foot so I've been unsuccessful getting in so far - but I suspect it is still possible!

An area that I was very happy to see has returned is an old elf tower and some ruins beyond the northern mountains in Eastern Plaguelands. Now my guy is only level 8, nowhere near capable of taking on the horrors of EPL yet so it is lucky that this area is accessible via Tirisfal Glades.
You basically go to the extreme North East of Tirisfal, avoiding the Scarlet Crusaders and the Murlocs, then jump into the ocean and swim east along the coast.

It is a long swim.You must hug the coast the whole way around else you start to hit fatigue and can drown. There are several areas where you can get out of the water and clamber about on rocks but there is nothing much but grass to see. Eventually in the smoky haze of distance you can make out a spiky hill.
After small stretch of water where you get fatigued, you should see some trees sprouting from the hill, and then an upraised finger of stone.
Once you get close enough you reveal a large mostly intact High Elf tower with a few lanterns still working. Interestingly, this location is still accessible in The Burning Crusade, despite being well within the Ghostlands area. 
Here is the tower itself:

Also nearby is another ruined tower and an archway and dock. There is also a picnic table with two stone benches in the above picture.

If you continue swimming further east for about another 45 minutes, you can come to a small dwarf settlement that actually has some NPC's moving around.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Cure the Cash Flow Blues - WOW Classic revision

WoW Classic is up and running and I've been bitten by the nostalgia bug. Here is a revised version of one of my earliest ever posts on this blog about making money as part of the levelling process. The original was written in the early days of The Burning Crusade but since most of my alts were low level its very relevant for Classic.

So many people seem to struggle to make enough money in Warcraft. Here are some tips to make it a lot easier.

1: Buy the biggest bags you can afford and upgrade them when you can. Bigger bags means you can carry more stuff and spend more time in the field.

2: Create a second character that is to act as your bank and salesperson. Give them a starting fund and mail all your saleable items to them. Run them up to the nearest capital city and let them log out next to the mailbox. This means your main character has less downtime between trips. Postage is very cheap, a handful of copper per transaction.

3: A little later, consider making another bank alt and parking them at the neutral auction house in Gadgetzan. Cross faction trades can be quite valuable.

4: As soon as you can afford it after level 5, get trained in at least one gathering skill, preferably two. Gathering skills that work well for novices are probably skinning and one of mining or herbalism. Remember to buy the equipment needed as well. Enchanting is a good gathering skill for more experienced players, when used for its disenchant ability.

5: Take the items you gather and sell them on the auction house. Ores can be sold, as can bars. Just check to see which has the higher going rate. Herbs and leathers sell fairly well, though unprocessed hides tend not to be so successful. Befriend a leather-worker and pay them to process them for you.

6: Never throw away loot. Take any of the grey equipment and sell to the vendors. Any cloth that you aren't using yourself should be kept and sold on the auction house. White and Green quality items can be used or sold on the auction house. Bind on pickup items can be disenchanted. Blue bind on equip items should be sold on the auction house or directly on /trade channel in cities.

7: Know the value of items. External websites often have average values for items but each server is different. Make sure you check the auction house or ask in /trade before selling or auctioning white or better items.

8: Install an auction house mod to assist in pricing. Auctioneer was my go-to in original wow but doesn't appear to have a classic remake yet.

9: Take some note of the deposit costs to list items on the auction house. Plate and Mail items are often quite expensive to list so be sure you set a price that will sell. Also be sure to put both a bid and a buyout price on items, since lazy people will hit buyout to get the item instantly rather than wait for the auction to expire. Items without buyouts often do not sell.

10: Take advantage of people's laziness. Many vendors around the world have recipes for sale. Some are limited run items on a timer. Nearly all of these can be bought and resold on the auction house for at least 300% profit. Be careful not to flood the market with any one item.

11: Resist the temptation to buy anything except bigger bags from the auction house. The gear you get from quest rewards and instance dungeons is more than adequate to level up in. Don't waste money on getting low level items enchanted either. You will soon outgrow the item.

12: Pets can make a modest to rather nice profit. Cross-faction pets can be even better if you have some way of transferring them via the neutral auction house or in cooperation with another player.

13: Be aware of the most common and beneficial crafting recipes and sell your harvested materials in partial stacks that are either slightly less or slightly more than the most common recipes. eg. a bag may require 9 raw cloth, so sell stacks of 8 and 3 on the market, with the cost per cloth being higher on the 3-stack.

14: Use the mail system as very cheap 30-day storage rather than spend money on bank bag slots. Use extra alt characters for additional storage - just level them up enough to get to the nearest city with a mailbox and bank.

15: Hunters and Druids make decent farming characters with their tracking skills and shape-shifting abilities respectively.

16: Spend a bit of time while levelling just killing humanoid characters to farm cloth drops. This is most effective when you out level the mobs somewhat but while they are still green for a bit of exp.

17: Do not just throw away certain items like milk, feathers, eggs, meats. These are needed for various things such as cooking recipes, some leather-work and tailoring, and hunter pet food. Even breads and mushrooms may have better than vendor prices on the auction house.

18: Watch for opportunities to buy cheap stuff from players for later sale. A metalworker may be crafting green items to level up. You can buy them cheap in bulk, then resell to an enchanter who disenchants them for materials. Build a network of contacts, or your own alts, that can make use of trade synergies.

19: Revisit lower level zones and instanced dungeons when you are significantly over level. You can clear the dungeon very fast and gather large quantities of materials. I used to make 10-15 gold per run through RageFire Cavern from cloth and green drops at the end of original vanilla WoW. Stockades in Stormwind was not quite as valuable.

20: Look for exploitable mission mechanics. The Barrens mission that summons a white lion can be attractive to hunters looking for a somewhat unique pet. A horde player could assist an alliance hunter to access this unique mob and be rewarded through the neutral auction house. Some missions generate waves of humanoid NPCs to fight, some of which drop cloth. The triggers for this can often be reset.

Using these tips it is easily possible to have the gold needed for your skills as you level and your basic and epic mounts. The same strategies will serve you well all the way till max level, where you can change your professions to do crafting if you wish.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Elite Dangerous Best Ships

There was a recent thread on Reddit asking for the best and worst ship in each price range. There were a variety of opinions expressed and some good thoughts put forward. I think however that the question of "best" and "worst" in a particular price range is not very useful. There are ships that are designed for combat, others that are good for trade, exploration, or those that are good at most things but great at none.

 I've built up a table of all the ships, separated into the same price range brackets as used in the post, but I've ranked each with a score from 1 to 10 for each of the main activities commonly done in Elite. The best ships in the game get a 10 and the worst get a 1. Bigger ships have more space for modules so tend to have higher performance across the board. I have now flown almost all of these ships in a variety of roles for hours at a time now so should have a fairly objective viewpoint on their performance.

 For Combat, a ship must be able to dish out damage or be capable of surviving for a long time. Elite combat against NPC's tends to favour the faster more manoeuvrable ships, though a heavy tank can work well too. My ratings here are for mainly PVE combat in RES sites or combat zones, though I have taken into account a ship's PVP capabilities as well.

 Trade ships are almost entirely based on their capacity to move cargo or passengers. As such, large storage space is the primary concern. A good jump range will boost this rating. Luxury cabins, only available to Dolphin, Orca and Beluga make such little difference to the money earned they are not a factor.

 Exploration ships favour Jump range over all other considerations, but need a decent selection of internal slots to carry the preferred equipment. The Diamondback Explorer, Asp Explorer and Anaconda are the clear class winners here, but other ships are viable as well. Combat ships lose out here due to generally abysmal jump ranges.

 The Missions category is for how a ship performs in a variety of different roles. This lumps together all missions that are not exclusively combat (Mainly assassination and massacre mission types), so a flexible load out and decent cargo space are important. So called "Multi - Role" ships suit this category well, but they tend to emphasise combat more heavily than needed for most mission types.

Mining heavily favours the bigger ships as there is a need to have many large internal modules for all the equipment and storage space for the resulting ores. Small ships just cant cope very well in this category.

 The Total column simply adds the results of the other columns. Highest total in a price bracket may be considered the "best" ship, and lowest considered the worst, but this is not the total picture.

Combat Trade Exploration Missions Mining Total
Sidewinder 4 2 4 4 2 16
Eagle 6 1 2 2 1 12
Hauler 1 4 7 4 3 19
Adder 3 5 5 4 3 20
Imperial Eagle 5 2 2 3 1 13
Viper Mk3 6 3 2 4 1 16
Cobra Mk3 5 6 5 7 4 27
Viper Mk4 5 4 3 5 4 21
Diamondback Scout 5 3 6 5 3 22
Cobra Mk4 4 4 3 5 4 20
Type 6 2 7 6 4 6 25
Dolphin 4 7 6 4 4 25
Diamondback Explorer 6 5 9 6 5 31
Imperial Courier 6 4 5 5 3 23
Keelback 6 6 4 6 6 28
Asp Scout 5 5 5 5 6 26
Vulture 9 2 2 4 2 19
Asp Explorer 7 7 9 7 7 37
Federal Dropship 7 6 4 6 7 30
Type 7 2 8 4 3 7 24
Federal Assault Ship 8 5 4 6 5 28
Imperial Clipper 7 7 5 7 7 33
Federal Gunship 7 5 3 6 6 27
Orca 6 6 6 6 7 31
Fer-de-Lance 10 3 3 4 3 23
Python 8 8 6 9 8 39
Type 9 Heavy 3 8 4 5 8 28
Beluga Liner 3 7 5 5 7 27
Type 10 7 7 4 6 8 32
Anaconda 8 9 10 8 9 44
Federal Corvette 9 8 4 7 9 37
Imperial Cutter 7 10 5 8 9 39

The 0-100k range has some interesting ships. They are all really cheap with few internal slots so can't really compete with later ships but can be a load of fun regardless. The Sidewinder is actually probably the best ship in this range because it comes free and is somewhat useful in all activities. You will usually earn enough money quickly in the sidewinder to get out of this price bracket long before you would consider upgrading these ships to their full potential. Worst ship of this bunch is probably Hauler. It is the worst ship in the game for combat and is outclassed in almost everything else by the Adder. It is however a pretty good cheap taxi and explorer with one of the highest jump ranges in the game. The Eagle is only good at fighting and only has marginally better firepower than the sidewinder but it is an absolute blast to fly and is awesome to take planetside for canyon runs. The Adder, despite scoring "best" in this bunch is actually my least favourite.

Ships in the 100k - 1m price range are still limited by size and therefore lack flexibility compared to their bigger counterparts. All of these ships have a combat rather than trade focus though some are better considered as Multi -role. The clear leader in the bunch is the Cobra Mk III, probably the most flexible ship in the game. It is slightly worse in combat than its peers but has better jump range than the combat ships and a lot more options for internal compartments. Yamiks calls this ship the "Space Jesus" and he's not wrong!  Viper mk 3 is a great combat ship, one of the fastest and most manoeuvrable in the game but it cant really do anything else except shoot. The Mk 4 versions of Viper and Cobra are fatter, slower and more bulky variants of ships that excel due to speed, so I rate these significantly worse than the original version. The Cobra Mk4 was exclusive to those of us who pre-ordered Horizons or bought the lifetime pass, so only a handful of players can use it. In my opinion, its frankly terrible! Many people dislike the Diamondback Scout, as its not really suited for exploration but I quite like it for combat or missions at this level. It also has some PvP use.

The 1m-10m price range includes some really nice ships. On points, the two explorers, Diamondback and Asp, win out. These are clearly amongst the best exploration ships in the game. They also have flexible load outs so perform great for mission running and do pretty well at trade or combat as well. Both are excellent ships!  The Type 6 is great at trade, a pretty decent explorer but not much good for anything else. The dolphin is also good at trade and exploration but probably outclassed by its peers. It does however win on good looks and sound! The vulture does one thing only - kill stuff. No smaller ship can match it in combat and it will give any bigger ship a real fight. If all you want is a killing machine, then look no further as it is AWESOME at that. The Asp Scout is actually a pretty good ship, average in everything but it is outclassed everywhere by other ships in this price range and is noticeably worse than its big brother Asp Explorer. It is just Mr Average in a school of exceptional students. The Imperial Courier is a nice ship to fly. It loses out in this bunch due to lacking cargo space but if you are combat, or more military mission focused its a great ride.  The Keelback is probably the hardest ship in the game to rate fairly. It can do almost anything but does not have the flexibility needed to do anything particularly well. As the first ship in the game to be able to fit a Ship Launched Fighter it scores well in combat - but the mother-ship turns like a slug and isn't particularly well armed or armoured. Its jump range and cargo capacity limit its usefulness in other roles and you are nearly always forced to give up the SLF - in which case you should fly a different ship. It can be very fun to fly and the SLF makes it awesome.

By the time you have 10m-50m to spend on ships you probably have a fair idea of what activities you enjoy and probably a fleet of ships to do things in. You probably specialise your ships for one role at a time and will fly another ship or re-fit for a different task.  In this price range, the Federal Dropship and Imperial Clipper are probably best for general mission running but both are behind rank grinds to access. The type 7 is good trader or miner but pretty much useless for anything else, though should get a buff in the next game patch. The Federal Assault Ship is a brilliant fighter and can be used for most other tasks, as can the Federal Gunship. The Orca is pretty good at most things but has the speed other trade ships lack for Smuggling and has some humorous uses in combat when specially outfit. My numbers say the Clipper is the best and Type 7 the worst of this price bracket but I'd struggle to pick one either way. No ship in this range isn't outclassed by ships in other price ranges.

The 50m-100m price bracket is dominated by the "best" multi-role ship and mission runner in the game - the Python. Its only weaknesses are the lack of a SLF and a below average jump range. There is pretty much nothing this ship cannot do and do well, often without needing to refit. The Fer-de-lance is probably the best fighter in the game but like many other combat ships, combat is all it can do. FDL and FAS are the best PvP ships available and are awesome at PvE as well. The Type 9 and Beluga round out this category. Both are good traders, but not a lot of use elsewhere. The Type 9 is being buffed in the next update which should improve its trade and mining capabilities further.

The final category is the most expensive ships in the game, above 100m. The Anaconda is made from unicorn farts and spider web thread and has almost magical abilities in most areas. As a miner/trader, this ship has enough space for everything you need and has a great laden jump range as well. As an explorer, it has the best jump range available in almost any configuration yet still has room for all the essentials and fun stuff as well. The Anaconda scores 44/50 in my rating system and is clearly the best overall ship in the game but is definitely not perfect. The Corvette and Cutter are the two end-game ships only available after an immense rank grind for fed or imperial factions as well as being hideously expensive. The Corvette is more combat oriented and the Cutter more trade/multi-role. They excel in these tasks but I feel they miss out somewhat on the fun aspect that smaller ships bring. The Type 10 is new to the game and doesn't score particularly well here against the other big ships but it is actually designed to be a Thargoid killer - something this rating system isn't really set up for.

Is there an overall best/worst? I'm not sure really. I'd probably pick the Python as best and Cobra Mk 4 as worst, regardless of the numbers. The ships I have flown the most are probably the DBS and the Type 7, for RES farming and trade/passengers respectively. DBS is a fun ship, the Type 7 - well its useful but that's damning it with faint praise!

I flew the Alliance Chieftain in the recent Beta for a while. It seems like a bunch of fun for combat, perhaps on par with the Vulture. I have no idea how it handles in other roles.

All ships have their uses. I often enjoy dropping back to my smaller ships after spending time in the big slow ones. I also like dinking about in a pimped out Sidewinder just for fun. Not everything is about the best way to make money fast!

Cryptography out!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Elite Dangerous Sidewinder to Anaconda in a day

I ended my previous post with a 4-point list of activities that could be a path from the starter Sidewinder to an Anaconda in six hours. I have since then actually attempted this process and have completed it in around 10 hours. With better luck with the various RNG elements in the game it may be possible to drop that significantly, but 6 hours is very optimistic!

This method was done over several weeknight play sessions before and after the release of game patch 2.4.09. Testing after the patch indicates that the spawn rate of the relevant passenger missions is a lot slower but the payouts seem unaffected.

There are two stages to this method. The first is taking your starter Sidewinder into a High Resource Extraction Site and help the local police kill pirates. This stage should take about 2 and a half hours to earn 3.8 million credits. See my earlier posts on this site for details on how to do this. You then buy a Type 6 like THIS one, featuring D-rated internals except for Frame Shift Drive and many Economy class passenger cabins.

In Stage 2, the Type 6 runs bulk passenger missions from a source station to a system nearby that has a very distant orbital station or planetary base. A system that has a destination ~300,000 light seconds will earn you about 3-4 million per mission, whereas one that is 1.8 million light seconds distant can get 10 million + for the same number of passengers. This stage requires half an hour or so of searching the passenger boards, accepting relevant missions, then swapping game modes from open to solo or back to generate a new board. The 1.8 million LS trip is then about 40 minutes of flight time. You drop off passengers then return to your starting station. About 3 hours of this should net you enough to buy THIS Type 7 which again features D-rated everything except FSD and lots of passenger cabins. Filling up this baby should net you about 50 million per trip, so roughly 4 hours later you should have enough money to buy a shiny new Anaconda, again D-rated with passenger cabins. After than you can continue to print money for however long it suits you.

I used the following systems:

Start in LHS 3447 with the non-horizons sidewinder (No SRV bay). Ignore any mission offers and fly to LTT 15574 via Kini. Land at Haxel port to reset your save location. Fly out to the High Res near Yaping Dock and carefully fight pirates there. Be sure to let the police ships do most of the work!
Once you have about 3.8 million credits, upgrade to an A-rated FSD then fly to Kirk Ring in LFT 1103, which will take several jumps. Be sure to refuel, or fit a fuel scoop.
At Kirk Ring, buy the Type 6 linked earlier then fly to your new home system: 45 c Bootis at Ride Hub. Hand in any cartographic data to help boost your local reputation but even at neutral you should get SOME passenger missions on offer.
The main target is missions to Samos Depot in the Dea Motrona system, a 1.8 million light second journey to a planetary base - so this requires the Horizons expansion. There are two other systems nearby with stations at ~300,00 light seconds. Lovelace Terminal in LFT 1209 is probably the better option but missions to either of Pawelczyk Orbital or Nusslein-Volhard Station in LHS 371 are acceptable alternatives.

Note, some of the systems are initially undiscovered, so I have fit an Advanced Discovery Scanner on my suggested ships. You can get the same results by visiting the nav beacon right near the central star and targeting it, scanning it for data.

Some sample ship details. D-rated everything except FSD. Smallest viable shield is fitted. A minimum of 4 tons cargo and an advanced discovery scanner is also fitted. The type 6 and Type 7 are best bang for buck in their size range.

Ship Passengers   Cost 
Anaconda 176      176,692,690
Beluga 144         155,294,890
Python 132      67,174,060
Type-7 128      29,193,200
Type-9 116      99,495,710
Orca 84      57,444,120
Asp Explorer 56      14,021,500
Type-6 48        4,760,410
Dolphin 34        5,180,800
Asp Scout 28        7,739,690
Cobra Mk III 18        5,190,836

Swapping from Solo to Open game modes generates a new set of mission and passenger boards. A Private group board is the exact same as Open. Mission boards reset missions after 5 - 15 minutes anyway so if several swaps between boards isn't generating anything new, just do something else for a short time. Most of the passenger missions have 3 hour completion timers but there is no need to obsessively spam the boards until completely full. As your reputation with the local faction grows, and as your trade rank increases, your payouts per mission should improve. In my testing, this method was viable with neutral reputation and minimal trade rank to start with. Both improved fairly quickly but I had made my 240 million long before any local faction had improved relations much beyond cordial. Its painfully boring waiting for missions to spawn but is nevertheless a viable quick money method.

Any genuine newbies who find this guide should NOT follow it. It describes a mind numbingly boring method of grabbing credits that will destroy your enjoyment of the game. Go play in your small ships for a good while THEN come and use this to get money for mid-and high range toys.

Edit: Frontier Developments have nerfed the distance based payouts on passenger missions so this method no longer works quite as described. They MAY reinstate a distance-based payout but it is very unlikely to generate the large sums it has previously.

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