Fri. Mar 31st, 2023
We are approaching Freeport, the lonely place of civilization in the anarchy of system LP 98-132.
Enlarge / We are approaching Freeport, the lonely place of civilization in the anarchy of system LP 98-132.

We wrote about the upcoming semi-private alpha and beta releases of both Chris Roberts’ Star burger and that of David Braben Elite: Dangerous a few weeks ago. Star Citizens dogfighting module missed its scheduled release by a few days, but became available on June 4, while Elite: dangerous’ premium beta kicked off right on time on May 30, flooding what was previously a small alpha test with about 10,000 new players. Although the current version of the game is only a fraction of what Elite: Dangerous hopes to be on release, which is playable today was more than enough to keep me engrossed for days.

Participants in the E:D premium beta essentially plays the same game that alpha testers have had their hands on since mid-May. There are a number of single-player combat scenarios that players can use to familiarize themselves with the game’s controls, and then a multiplayer area consists of five-star systems where the “real” part of the premium beta takes place. Players can fly around and between the five systems, trade goods and shoot NPCs – or each other.

Video: a musical interlude with the Elite: Dangerous premium beta. The soundtrack is ‘Arrival’ by Lee Rosevere.

Greetings, Commander Jameson

Original from 1984 Elite saw players assume the role of the anonymous “Commander Jameson” (although the name may be changed in some versions), docked in orbit around the planet Lave with nothing but a new Cobra Mk. III spacecraft and 100 credits. Although the final release of Elite: Dangerous will feature a variety of starting ships and positions, the current premium beta version of the game takes a page from the original. Players all start out in the same small one-man Sidewinder fighter, which can carry a small amount of cargo. You get 1,000 credits to start trading and a single laser to start shooting.

You can buy cargo (four tons at a time) and slowly work your way to a better ship, or you can go straight to one of the dogfight encounter areas and shoot down NPC ships for bounties. If you die – and I say “when” because almost every public space is PVP-enabled, and a huge number of the game’s beta players seem to be homicidal murder mad maniacs – you can start over with the basic single-laser Sidewinder for free or pay part of your credits for a ship equipped in the same way as the one you just lost.

Approaching Dahan Gateway, a Coriolis-class space station in the Dahan system.
Enlarge / Approaching Dahan Gateway, a Coriolis-class space station in the Dahan system.

The goal in premium beta is to get money to upgrade your ship (both by equipping it with more and better weapons and buying bigger and better ships together), and the fastest way to earn money in the premium beta is to take your starter ship and grind destructive baddies in one of the conflict zones of the starter system. It takes a while and you die often, but at 500 credits per kill it’s a lot faster than trying to trade four tons at a time. Once you’ve collected maybe 20,000 credits, you can attach some solid gimbal lasers to your Sidewinder to massively increase the lethality. Plus, you’ll still have money left over to cover insurance costs if you get blown up.

If shooting isn’t your thing, you can cling on and try to trade your way to riches. However, since the Sidewinder can only carry four tons of cargo (and each “unit” of cargo is one ton), this again takes a lot longer than just killing for credits – it probably took me five or six hours to break 10,000 credits, and you’ve got it takes over 10 times the credits to upgrade your Sidewinder to a ship that can carry more cargo (the cheapest option right now is the venerable Cobra Mk. III). However, if shooting is your thing, then you only need a little over 40,000 credits to choose an Eagle Mk. II – it still only carries four tons of cargo, but it’s an agile dogfighter.

By akfire1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.