Monday, April 18, 2016

Checking out Elite Dangerous

I've been playing a fair bit of Elite: Dangerous lately after years of MMOs. I still play some WOW, quite a bit of SWTOR and dabble in RIFT and some others but am looking a bit further afield more recently.

Elite: Dangerous is a space flight sim that attempts to model the entire Milky Way galaxy. They seem to have included most known stars fairly accurately as well as bringing in key systems (Lave, Diso etc) from earlier game versions. The rest of the galaxy is generated procedurally based on real information. Like previous games in the series, you are free to trade, fight or explore pretty much wherever you want.

Progression in the game is primarily by getting money and then upgrading your ship or buying new ones. There are about 30 different ships to choose from. They have a certain level of specialisation amongst them, some being optimized for combat, others big cargo ships. Several are designed for long exploration trips and others are generalist designs. Upgraded modules and weapons as well as limitations in fitting allow for a fair variety of builds. No ship has room for every desired module meaning that no one build will be perfect for everything.

The price of ships and modules in each category means it will take a reasonably long time to get the best of everything. Money gathering at each stage seems to match fairly well the requirements for the next meaning that there is a constant rate of progression despite things being monumentally expensive at the top end. There is also a certain incentive to revisit earlier ships at times for fun, even if money gathering suffers somewhat.

One limitation with the game is that you are restricted to one Commander at a time. You can delete it if you want but you lose all progress and the long grind for money you may have already performed. This means it’s hard to go back to the start and experiment with other options, or to have one commander specialise in combat and another off exploring for months on end.

This limitation is why I've just recently bought a second account and may document my adventures here.

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