Elite Dangerous: Ships
It’s been a while since my last post about Elite Dangerous but still, it is a game that I come back to most often. As my experience with it evolved since that time, the game itself has been enriched significantly too. In this post, I’ll describe my experiences and share why ED keeps me coming back to it.
My journey with Elite ships
Ships and the ability to fly them are the main part of the game. As any other player, I started my journey with a Sidewinder. It is the cheapest, entry-level vessel. While I do not remember any more for how long did I use mine before I managed to buy something bigger and better, I still have one in my fleet. Her name is Płomyk (Glimmer). Sidewinder is actually a very good starting ship. It is small and can land on all station types, it’s quite agile during flight and big enough to hold Planetary Vehicle Hangar for planetary explorations. What’s important is that it is also very cheap, so perfect for pilots to learn flight without being worried about money to repay lost vessels.
When I started my journey with Elite, I wanted to get an Anaconda – a ship I remember from Frontier: Elite II. Anaconda is basically on another spectrum to Sidewinder. It is one of the biggest and most expensive vessels, yet very versatile in use, including exploration, trade, and fight. While obtaining one was my goal, I knew it will take me a while to afford it thus I had to fly quite a few ships first.
Of course you can find a lot of tutorials for getting rich in a few days of play, but what is then a point of having fun from learning the game and progressing through it?
My second ship was Adder. I knew Adders from the previous Elite series so I got excited when I bought one. She was relatively cheap but had more hardpoints, better jump range, and most importantly bigger cargo hold, which allowed me to transport more cargo and earn money faster. As of today, Adders are much more popular because they are used by Apex Interstellar for taxi services. At that time, however, I followed the trend and replaced her as soon as I could afford a bigger ship. What I love about Adders is their cockpit view, which is nicely finished up but also reminds Space Shuttle one. Overall, I think they are a good choice for a taxi.
Cobra Mk III was my next ship. She had a double cargo hold in comparison to Adder, better firepower, a good set of modules, and only a bit worse jump range. Cobra is actually a flagship in Elite and mine was an important milestone, that made a big difference in going further through the ladder.
After earning enough money, I have switched to Asp Explorer, the first medium-size ship I had.
As a side note, the ship sizes have not only impact on amount of cargo you can transfer, but also on ability to dock at the stations. There are three size categories of the player controlled ships: small, medium and large. Each station type has a set of various size landing pads. At that time, both small and medium ships could dock at any station but due to the fact that outposts have only 1 medium pad, there were occasions where I needed to wait for a ship to take off until I could land.
Back to Asp Explorer. She was an amazing ship and well recognised from previous games. The cargo hold doubled again with its purchase. She was the first ship that I used for exploration – she had a good jump range and a cockpit with a very wide view. Asp Explorer has 6 hardpoints so I used mine in quite a few combats. I do remember also that I flew her when I got surprised by a feature of the game that I was not aware of. Her super-wide canopy view, while amazing for exploration, was also easily breakable which I learned during one of the fights I described in the previous post.
The next ship I upgraded to was Alliance Challenger. In comparison to Asp Explorer, she had a stronger hull and shields, a bit more cargo space, and much stronger hardpoints. She was the first ship with a large hardpoint I ever owned. I liked her and used her for trade as well as combat. This ship had one drawback, however – a very exposed and easy to damage engines. With her, I learned that with destroyed engines the ship totally loses control and goes into a tailspin. I learned also to use Auto Field-Maintenance Unit as this happened to me more times.
After her, I reached another milestone by buying Python, the most popular medium size ship in Elite according to Inara. Python is another well-known vessel from previous Elite versions. It is a multipurpose ship, amazing for trade, combat, passenger missions, and has a good jump range. Again, in comparison to Alliance Challenger, mine had almost double cargo hold. I have used her for quite a while until reaching my final goal.
Finally, after going through my ship ladder I earned enough to buy an Anaconda, one of the best and most expensive ships in the game. I called her Fafik – a Polish name of a little but loud dog. I named her that to make her sound peaceful and underestimated, but I must admit that she was capable to bite. I used Fafik for the longest time of my play – and like a good friend, she stayed with me till now. I have been using her for various purposes. For most of the time, she was well-armed and used for combat or secure trade. Sometimes I have had been repurposing her to transfer passengers and had been using her for rescue missions. On other occasions, I have been changing her loadout for long-range exploratory expeditions. Now, as I have many ships, she is specialised for long-range expeditions only and does not have almost any weapons installed.
The career ladder
It may sound interesting why I did not write about the names of my previous ships except Fafik and Płomyk. Well, it is because I had to sell them to obtain better ones and I do not remember their names anymore. Only when I got Fafik I started earning enough money to have multiple ships.
My current ships
So how does it look after reaching the original goal? Well, I presume two things have changed. First of all, I can afford now multiple ships and instead of having one vessel that has to be versatile enough to do all the things, I have multiple specialised ones. The second thing is that I learned that having the biggest ship does not mean it is the best one nor my favourite one.
As I mentioned above, Fafik is still with me, but now she is specialised only for long-range exploration. I use her every time I want to go somewhere far or to reach the destination quickly in order to check system composition or local markets. Fafik is engineered and uses alien technology (Guardian FSD Booster), which makes her able to jump for 69.28 LY in a single jump, or 277 LY when supercharged with a Neutron star cone.
As the main battleship, I use now the Federal Corvette named Aurora. Federal Corvette is a top-end vessel, which not only is very expensive but also requires the rank of Rear Admiral with Federation superpower. Getting this rank and the ship was actually my second goal after obtaining Fafik and it required me doing a lot of missions for Federation allegiant factions. Anyway, I use Aurora as a base vessel for doing trade missions (my current setup has 256t of cargo hold) as well as any combat-related missions or endeavours. Federal Corvette is a unique vessel with 2 huge hardpoints, thus has very strong firepower.
I also own a separate Anaconda called Skarbek (A Little Goblin) which is designed for mining. She has a 320t cargo hold, she is capable to operate 9 collector limpets and 2 prospector limpets at once, as well as being equipped with a seismic charge launcher, sub-surface displacement missiles, abrasion blaster, and 5 mining lasers. With her, I can mine asteroids pretty fast, but otherwise, she is defenseless and has a small jump range.
Recently I bought also Type-9 Heavy, a transport vessel. I called her Nostromo. She is of 608t cargo hold and I use her for transporting bigger quantities of goods when necessary. I actually have had this model before, but only for a short time. While the transporter has a huge cargo hold, it is relatively slow and not agile at all, which makes it prone to pirate attacks. It has also a very limited jump range. I found mine useful again when I got my Fleet Carrier, which allowed me to do a short distance uploading/offloading of the cargo. Access to Guardian FSD Booster increased also her jump range, while the ability to install the Fighter Hangar made her a bit more secure.
My favourite ship however is Krait Mk II, called Krajtek. She is a medium-size ship (thus I can dock it to most stations), quite fast and agile and I love her shape, especially with special antennas that I mounted on her. I use her as a multipurpose, medium-range vessel. As she is more agile in supercruise, I prefer her over Fafik to explore nearby systems and their planets. I also learned with her to use railguns and fixed pulse lasers as well as flight assist off mode. She is more than capable of handling fights (maybe except bigger conflict zones). I also love using her to explore planets on foot and discovering a new bio species. Finally, 96t cargo hold allows me to do trading with her, especially with locations where large ships cannot land. Often, I do the tritium runs to outposts fill up my Fleet Carrier before long travels.
With the Odyssey release, new planetary settlements have been introduced. While they always have small landing pads, they often lack large and even medium ones. Because of that, a new purpose emerged for small ships. I actually have three of them dedicated to the Odyssey content. The first one is Dolphin called Umnibus, a small vessel that I use to transfer passengers. She is outfitted with cabins for 22 business and 6 economy or a total of 28 economy passengers. She is very nimble and fast, an amazing choice for quick travels on and off the planets.
The other one is Adder called Scavek. With the introduction of Apex Interstellar taxis, I found this model interesting again and now I have a purpose for it. I use Scavek for scavenger missions and similar endeavours. She holds a vehicle hangar with Scarab and has an 18t cargo hold.
With Odyssey settlements, it is possible to take missions to reactivate settlement power which often includes removing pirates or scavengers. While I have never had a good reason to buy Imperial Eagle before, now I have one. My Eagle is called Orlik. She is fast, nimble, has hardpoints with missile launchers, and a vehicle hangar equipped with Scorpion.
Finally, with a very recent update introducing multi-limpet controllers, I have suited Cobra Mk III with Rescue Limpet Controller and use her for exploring signal sources. Finally, I could help stranded pilots by refueling their ships.
After getting Aurora, my ultimate goal became obtaining a fleet carrier. It was not an easy job as I needed roughly 6,500,000,000 credits to buy a carrier with all utilities I wanted to have. In comparison, my Federal Corvette cost roughly 700,000,000 credits. As I really wanted to get one, I started intense mining. First I focused on low-temperature diamonds and mined them from overlapping planet ring hotspots. At a later stage, I switched to painite. After some time I managed to accumulate enough money and I bought my Drake-Class Carrier called Eridu. Having a fleet carrier, allowed me to group all of my ships and equipment to one, mobile place. I use her for long-range expeditions, including exploration of undiscovered systems, mining in pristine areas of the galaxy, and recently I visited Colonia.
Unlike all other player-owned ships, it is not possible to fly fleet carriers directly, instead, they are managed by the crew. What is cool however is that it is possible to host other commanders and jump together to other parts of the galaxy or just observe its departure or arrival from the ship. While docked, carrier jumps cannot be observed as all commanders are locked in their ships in the hangar. I am excited, however, as soon it would be possible to disembark and walk to the fleet carrier concourse, as well as observe the carrier jump from the bridge!