Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Elite Dangerous: Near Death Incident and Mini Review

Spending the past few nights relaxing in Elite Dangerous. I had played a lot of Eve Online and just found the mechanics really slow and boring. I wanted more of a engaged space flight sim and not so much an MMO with a hotbar button.

Elite is an odd character. I feel like so much more could be added but its still being worked on after all this time. For example that sham of a game No Man's Sky has base building now but it is largely worthless and just a place to store things. I feel like Elite should be at some sort of space station level by now but there are no signs its moving that way.

Elite, although appearing slow and boring, is to its credit dripping with atmosphere. Factions and rumors abound yet I have not gotten that deep into it yet with just 36 hours or so under my belt. 

So far I have watched all the tutorial videos ( https://youtu.be/JX20fd2q2DI ) and done some missions and within a day I had docking and space travel down. However there is a lot more beneath that engine from politics to war efforts to bounty hunting to exploring. I know that in most open ended games (sandbox titles) you will be hard pressed to find things to do unless you set goals. Right now my goal is to make money, explore and learn the game. To that end I am taking spaceport missions and just hauling cargo. The funds are there to buy another ship already but I am ok at this point. YouTube has helped a lot. I finally learned the external camera commands as well and this really gives you a good look at your character and ship. The Elite store offers upgrades and add ons to the ships of a cosmetic fashion which is fun and inexpensive. 

Thus far my take has been do not get too excited but I do think about what I want to do later that night after work when I log in and before I know it 3 hours have gone by. 

One interesting thing happened to me last night. The game has added planet exploration via the use of a rover once you land and pilot the vehicle out. What I did not know is you do not get this free. You must buy a cargo hold to hold the rover, then buy the rover. So I landed on a planet called Plotis 3 (I think) for heck of it. The game simulates entering orbit and entering "glide" mode which is sub orbital flight. I sat down my ship and then realized I didn't have a rover. While Googling this I suddenly saw my cockpit light up and I was under attack from some jerk that decided to strafe me while I was parked on the planet surface. This was of course AI controlled since I am in solo mode (open play is online with others) and I was shocked. Panicking I strove to restart my ship. I am using an XBox One controller plugged in with a micro USB cable to my Windows 10 gaming machine. Holding down R3 I fired up my engines and realized I had shields down due to enemy fire and my ship was sparking and taking a lot of damage. My craft lurched off the surface of the planet and I kicked the thrusters in. Suddenly the fire stopped. Looking to my right I pulled up the Holo Console and checked my ships systems. Hull is at 13%. Holy crap. I looked around and the Feds had pulled in at the right time. My assailant was under attack by my protectors and they had literally saved my life. I never saw who saved me or what attacked me but I hit orbit and got off that planet as fast as I could. 

After that moment I fell in love with Elite Dangerous. Its hard, tricky and deep but its really cool. The world goes on around you and I haven't even tapped into that yet. Heck I really do not know what I am doing. Instances like my sudden near death experience though give me hope that the game will continue to grow and provide more moments like that.