Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, BOOM

Monster variable red supergiant Betelgeuse now may be officially behaving..."weird". By "now" I mean it was maybe officially behaving weird approximately 650 years ago and we're just seeing it now, I just want to get that necessary disclaimer out of the way to avoid the inevitable "it's 650ly away, this happened 650 years ago and we're only seeing it now" post. Either way, I'm speaking in present tense, eat it and eat it raw.

If you haven't heard, Betelgeuse dimmed to nearly one-third its normal luminosity over the past month. It's a variable star, it does that. What makes this anomalous, is it's dimmer than usual, and it's been dimmer longer than usual. We've known for a while Betelgeuse is at the end of its approximately 10 million-year lifespan, and is due to pop at some time in the next hundred thousand years.

By "pop" I mean it's going to go supernova, and it's big enough and close enough the supernova will be as bright as the Moon for approximately a month. It's far enough away it poses no threat, but it's close enough when it goes we'll have a few hours' advance notice in the form of a monster neutrino burst we can't possibly miss.

It's no guarantee this is about to happen. Discussion is being heavily disclaimed with "it does this"; it could be a longer or deeper cycle than usual, a convergence of cycles, or some change in its cycles as it approaches death. Or aliens building the universe's stupidest Dyson sphere around it. "ZOMG Beetlejuice gonna asplode!" article blasts have hit the net before, and it could be nothing. If it starts brightening in the next week or two, back to business as usual. Even if this is the star's death rattle, it may not happen any time soon.

But it's still something to keep an eye on, if you're not already.

Betelgeuse behaving weird?

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Lies and slander!

It's got to last another few hundred years, I visited it in Elite: Dangerous.

If you play E:D and haven't, go check it out. It's not Sagittarius A* level of weird and amazing, but... holy shit it's big.

Agema:
It's got to last another few hundred years, I visited it in Elite: Dangerous.

If you play E:D and haven't, go check it out. It's not Sagittarius A* level of weird and amazing, but... holy shit it's big.

I mean, been there, done that...what irks me is you don't really get a sense of scale visually, you have to mind the distances and speeds on the HUD. Betelgeuse doesn't look any bigger or smaller than VY Canis Majoris, or even any red giants or dwarves in the game. You can't get close enough to notice a difference due to thermal radiation, but at the same time you're far enough away supercruise scaling kicks in and you can't notice a difference just due to how fast you're moving.

Might be fun to see in the night sky. Definiatly going to love it when Nova covers it on PBS.

Eacaraxe:

I mean, been there, done that...what irks me is you don't really get a sense of scale visually, you have to mind the distances and speeds on the HUD. Betelgeuse doesn't look any bigger or smaller than VY Canis Majoris, or even any red giants or dwarves in the game.

Fair enough if you didn't get that sense, but it seemed properly huge to me.

Make a real mess of Orion if it pops, too. It's one of the most distinctive constellations.

It would be awesome if we got to see a supernova with the naked eye within our lifetime tho. Last time that happened was over 400 years ago.

Agema:
Fair enough if you didn't get that sense, but it seemed properly huge to me.

Make a real mess of Orion if it pops, too. It's one of the most distinctive constellations.

It sure was good fuel scoopin' though.

My faves are still Wolf-Rayet stars though. Nothing like your ship turning into a pressure cooker the moment you pop out of hyperspace. One of the big reasons I miss my DBX like crazy; AspX is still my favorite exploration ship, but it runs a little toasty for my preference on long trips.

Also the absolute batshit neutron stars with rotations in the thousands of RPM and a rotational axis of 20-30 degrees, jump in and your FSD's supercharged before you even realize your ship's about to explode.

I haven't played since before they nerfed the crap out of FSD range, basically forcing everyone to grind guardian crap if they want a jump distance worth a damn, but I ought to get back into it. Kinda miss bounty hunting in my funship.

Eacaraxe:
It sure was good fuel scoopin' though.

For sure!

My faves are still Wolf-Rayet stars though. Nothing like your ship turning into a pressure cooker the moment you pop out of hyperspace. One of the big reasons I miss my DBX like crazy; AspX is still my favorite exploration ship, but it runs a little toasty for my preference on long trips.

I've got an Asp for explo, although my all-rounder Krait II can do okay - both have the Guardian FSD booster. Most of my ships are rigged for low heat with an efficient power plant so I don't have much trouble refuelling - I think the Asp has clean thrusters too. Miss out on some combat capability, but no big deal as I don't play open (it's a mug's game with all those griefers). My Fed Corvette doesn't have an efficient pp because it really doesn't deal well with a low power output, and that runs really hot. On the other hand, I did stick a size 5/6 fuel scoop in it, so it doesn't need long round a star. Again, never get away with that waste of space if you want PvP, but it's a nice quality of life thing for PvE.

I sort of love those stars with close-orbiting stars, and that mild rush of panic where it looks like you're going to crash right into one as you enter the system. In fact, I think years ago I did - lost about 25% of my hull from heat damage getting out.

I haven't played since Sep/Oct. Although around the end of the year, I did have a friend round and let his kid play on my account. Like many kids might, he ignored me telling him not to play in open, went to Shinrarta Dezra of all places in my FdL and got it blown up by a griefer. Ugh. At least he was good enough to admit it, and I had 900million+ in the bank so the insurance barely dented it.

Agema:
I've got an Asp for explo, although my all-rounder Krait II can do okay - both have the Guardian FSD booster. Most of my ships are rigged for low heat with an efficient power plant so I don't have much trouble refuelling - I think the Asp has clean thrusters too.

I have a friend who still plays time to time in my local RPG group, he was bragging about how proud he was to have finally gotten 50ly jump range on his AspX, which absolutely floored me because I broke 50ly without much more than a grade 5 increased range FSD and I never even ground out guardian crap. He sent me his ship's profile on Coriolis, and by all rights it should have been over 60ly. I quit before the Krait even came out; I ended up using my Asp for rares trading on the occasion I didn't feel like doing mining or bulk hauling in my Python.

What made me say "screw this" to the game was the point I was grinding wake signatures in a famine system. If you never jumped to low orbit in a BGS event like that, it's actually pretty cool...none of which actually mattering, because I was just there to grind out some random engineering resource and not actually participate in the BGS event as was clearly intended. In fact, if it wasn't for the wake signatures I'd never have seen this part of a famine event to begin with. It actually made my skin crawl and realize for myself, the gameplay loop just never changes, it's just a numbers game and all that does change is the numbers get bigger.

And, the other part of it was...

Miss out on some combat capability, but no big deal as I don't play open (it's a mug's game with all those griefers)...

The only MP I played was closed, with two friends from that gaming group. We'd wing up, and hit asteroid rings to mine and bounty hunt. We actually had a kickass setup; I had my Keelback loaded up with the actual prospecting and mining equipment, some cargo for limpets, and a fighter bay. Buddy #2 had his combat Viper, buddy #3 had his Type-7 loaded out for refining and heavy hauling. Buddy #2 kept local space clear with the help of my fighter, and I'd mine while buddy #3 collected and refined. When he got a full load, he jumped out to sell, buy limpets, and transfer space limpets to me; while he was out, I prospected the next rock and helped bounty hunt.

The problem being, we couldn't split the profits from the ore sales, which irked me because we were all working together to make more creds than we would have on our own.

Eacaraxe:

I have a friend who still plays time to time in my local RPG group, he was bragging about how proud he was to have finally gotten 50ly jump range on his AspX, which absolutely floored me because I broke 50ly without much more than a grade 5 increased range FSD and I never even ground out guardian crap. He sent me his ship's profile on Coriolis, and by all rights it should have been over 60ly. I quit before the Krait even came out; I ended up using my Asp for rares trading on the occasion I didn't feel like doing mining or bulk hauling in my Python.

My Asp is definitely not optimised; I bought it a very long time ago and used it as a general purpose ship before I boosted it for long jumps, and never bothered clearing out a lot of the excess weight I didn't really need.

What made me say "screw this" to the game was the point I was grinding wake signatures in a famine system...

Yeah, basically. Lots of Elite is just amusing yourself with small tasks - although I'm not sure that really makes it different from lots of other sandbox games. When I want data, I usually just cheese the Jameson crash site and trade. I generally play it on/off - give it a few months a year, then go off and do other stuff, etc.

The only MP I played was closed, with two friends from that gaming group. We'd wing up, and hit asteroid rings to mine and bounty hunt. We actually had a kickass setup; I had my Keelback loaded up with the actual prospecting and mining equipment, some cargo for limpets, and a fighter bay. Buddy #2 had his combat Viper, buddy #3 had his Type-7 loaded out for refining and heavy hauling. Buddy #2 kept local space clear with the help of my fighter, and I'd mine while buddy #3 collected and refined. When he got a full load, he jumped out to sell, buy limpets, and transfer space limpets to me; while he was out, I prospected the next rock and helped bounty hunt.

The problem being, we couldn't split the profits from the ore sales, which irked me because we were all working together to make more creds than we would have on our own.

Same here - I've got my brother and a few friends and we occasionally team up to do stuff. Best way to share gains from groups is probably to take a mining mission - you'll all get the mission creds even if the goods only go to one.

Agema:
My Asp is definitely not optimised; I bought it a very long time ago and used it as a general purpose ship before I boosted it for long jumps, and never bothered clearing out a lot of the excess weight I didn't really need.

To be honest, I didn't find the absolutely batshit amount of work needed to eke out those last 5-10ly of jump range remotely worth it. It's nice if you're using FSD range consumables and/or riding the neutron highway because then you're getting a multiplicative effect, but more often than not you're making shorter-range jumps and reduced fuel efficiency on max-range jumps just means you're forced to scoop more often. It's a net time-saver if you're making long hauls out to Colonia or beyond for survey missions, but unless you're doing that kind of thing a lot you're still running a time deficit from grinding out the minor improvements.

For the time it took to grind from 50-55ly range, I could have made two or three round trips to Colonia and back to the bubble on the shorter jump range. Or, hell, just ground credits to buy and outfit an exploraconda which comes straight out of the box with a higher jump range than a min-maxed AspX.

AspX is absolute beast mode for rares trading though.

Yeah, basically. Lots of Elite is just amusing yourself with small tasks - although I'm not sure that really makes it different from lots of other sandbox games.

The pacing is what I take issue with, more than anything. It took me the same amount of time to go from Sidey to Cobra, from Cobra to Type-6, and from Type-6 to AspX, and from AspX to Python. And looking forward, from Python to 'Conda. And, the gameplay loops didn't look or feel all that different, bounty hunting in my Keelback didn't feel any different from bounty hunting in my funship. I get that gameplay loops are gameplay loops for a reason, but on the other hand some variation would be nice.

Same here - I've got my brother and a few friends and we occasionally team up to do stuff. Best way to share gains from groups is probably to take a mining mission - you'll all get the mission creds even if the goods only go to one.

I don't think they had those before I quit. The only wing missions that existed at that point I can remember were cargo missions, and those existed in this weird space where one person with a large ship could carry others, and/or everyone in the wing needed at least a Python to do them at a rate where the credits per hour were comparable to other activities.

Quick update, things are now officially...weirder. I'd say it's time for a Google alert. Still could be nothing, but definitely weirder.

Eacaraxe:
Quick update, things are now officially...weirder. I'd say it's time for a Google alert. Still could be nothing, but definitely weirder.

You want my guess? C'tan.

Next update, according to astronomers monitoring Betelgeuse's activity it seems to have stopped dimming, but it hasn't started brightening again yet. Either way the information to come from this will be very interesting, and if I had to venture a guess as to what was witnessed as a layperson with an interest in this...maybe we just witnessed a monster supergiant CME?

Eacaraxe:

To be honest, I didn't find the absolutely batshit amount of work needed to eke out those last 5-10ly of jump range remotely worth it. It's nice if you're using FSD range consumables and/or riding the neutron highway because then you're getting a multiplicative effect, but more often than not you're making shorter-range jumps and reduced fuel efficiency on max-range jumps just means you're forced to scoop more often. It's a net time-saver if you're making long hauls out to Colonia or beyond for survey missions, but unless you're doing that kind of thing a lot you're still running a time deficit from grinding out the minor improvements.

For the time it took to grind from 50-55ly range, I could have made two or three round trips to Colonia and back to the bubble on the shorter jump range. Or, hell, just ground credits to buy and outfit an exploraconda which comes straight out of the box with a higher jump range than a min-maxed AspX.

AspX is absolute beast mode for rares trading though.

I enjoy exploring and tend to take my time even when going somewhere: I usually don't find high fuel use much of a problem because I park my ship in the scoop zone perpendicular to the orbital plane and fill up whilst I do the full system scan. That way you can run a loss on the non-main series and catch it up when you eventually hit the OBAFGKMs.

The pacing is what I take issue with, more than anything. It took me the same amount of time to go from Sidey to Cobra, from Cobra to Type-6, and from Type-6 to AspX, and from AspX to Python. And looking forward, from Python to 'Conda.

Sort of. The credit income was vastly increased from when I started on release. Grinding up to the Cobra - the lowest affordable ship that really feels like you can do exciting things - took incredibly long. It was what, ~1000 for a bounty kill on a sidewinder and ~50k for an Anaconda. I got a Vulture quickly from my Cobra by doing a community task - earned 14 mill for a few hours play. Christ, it was like falling into a gold mine given the slow credit grind back then.

What is it now? 5-6 times higher for kills? Likewise, the explo gains increased nearly tenfold, I reckon. I was already explo elite, but visited Sag A* last year and made over 300 million each going there and coming back, only surface scanning terran, water and terraformables. That's a labour of love taking a lot of gameplay, but it's accessible to even a relatively low-spec ship and can buy a pimped-up Anaconda, Corvette or Cutter.

And, the gameplay loops didn't look or feel all that different, bounty hunting in my Keelback didn't feel any different from bounty hunting in my funship. I get that gameplay loops are gameplay loops for a reason, but on the other hand some variation would be nice.

That is definitely true - although again, typical sandbox gameplay.

I don't think they had those before I quit. The only wing missions that existed at that point I can remember were cargo missions, and those existed in this weird space where one person with a large ship could carry others, and/or everyone in the wing needed at least a Python to do them at a rate where the credits per hour were comparable to other activities.

I'm pretty sure as long as you're winged up and share the mission, everyone benefits. One friend had accidentally picked an elite wing assassination mission in his vulture: he'd be up against an uber-pimped FdL and three vultures. He'd either lose or have to abandon it, so I joined him in my Fed Corvette - I got all the kills, but he got the mission rewards (and bounties) as well.

Nice way to help newbies get somewhere, too: although probably don't want to go too fast as they do need to learn how to fly properly.

Watch off, I suppose; it's beginning to brighten again, just a little later than usual. The bright side of this (heh) is it darkened enough, apparently, to get more interesting data on its sunspot patterns and overall shape which is going to provide insight on end-of-life behavior for supergiant stars.

Agema:
Sort of. The credit income was vastly increased from when I started on release. Grinding up to the Cobra - the lowest affordable ship that really feels like you can do exciting things - took incredibly long. It was what, ~1000 for a bounty kill on a sidewinder and ~50k for an Anaconda. I got a Vulture quickly from my Cobra by doing a community task - earned 14 mill for a few hours play. Christ, it was like falling into a gold mine given the slow credit grind back then.

Funny enough I decided to re-download it and play a bit; FDev definitely made a lot of the more painful grinds better, but materials farming (which has been my main roadblock) is still awful. A couple mining trips out in my Python put a billion credits in the bank, so I finished off my Python's build, engineered it a bit, and upgraded from AspX to Phantom. Phantom's everything I could want in a runabout/exploration ship, especially with a non-grating flight sound and excellent heat management. I went ahead and knocked out the Guardian FSD since they fixed the fuel efficiency thing, and jumped to 70ly range just moving modules from my Asp to Phantom.

The one thing I do need to do is dust off my Funship and actually grind out combat ranks/unlock combat engineers. I can't exactly say I'm looking forward to dealing with its potato jump range, though.

Eacaraxe:

Funny enough I decided to re-download it and play a bit; FDev definitely made a lot of the more painful grinds better, but materials farming (which has been my main roadblock) is still awful. A couple mining trips out in my Python put a billion credits in the bank, so I finished off my Python's build, engineered it a bit, and upgraded from AspX to Phantom. Phantom's everything I could want in a runabout/exploration ship, especially with a non-grating flight sound and excellent heat management. I went ahead and knocked out the Guardian FSD since they fixed the fuel efficiency thing, and jumped to 70ly range just moving modules from my Asp to Phantom.

The one thing I do need to do is dust off my Funship and actually grind out combat ranks/unlock combat engineers. I can't exactly say I'm looking forward to dealing with its potato jump range, though.

Yeah. I sometimes hit the right frame of mind and don't mind buzzing around a planet for raw materials, and it's easy enough to pick up some wreckage after kills or check out high grade signal sources. The materials trader is a godsend: take a short trip through Empire space and you'll practically fall over a ton of Imperial Shielding which can be traded for what you want. It's the data that I hate grinding - that's why I usually cheese the Jameson crash site if I want rarities.

I've got a Phantom, but never really finished kitting it out - I was going to prep it as a fast passenger ship. I bought a Krait II around the same time and it's a sweet all-rounder - pretty fast, plenty of internals, good jump range, good weapon loadout, great field of view - but the Phantom is superior for fast, long distance travel. I know the Phantom's faster and more manoeuverable, but I think the loss of a large hardpoint hurts it significantly compared to the KII as a combat craft.

Funnily enough I played last night for the first time in ages as well as my brother sent me an invite out of the blue for some group fun.

Since they altered the discovery mechanics in some way I realised I had an extra size 1 slot on my FdL late last year. I dumped a Guardian FSD booster on it, because that ~4ly makes a big difference for something with such a short range. It's a nice and easy quality of life thing.

Agema:
Yeah. I sometimes hit the right frame of mind and don't mind buzzing around a planet for raw materials, and it's easy enough to pick up some wreckage after kills or check out high grade signal sources.

Yeah, it's the "do thing, relog, do thing again" nature of materials farming I loathe. The Jameson crashsite is stupid but it's a lightning-quick grind for months' worth of mats, but wake scanning and HGSS farming are just horrendous. About the only one I halfway enjoy is the Dav's Hope Raceway, and that's because gotta go fast.

I really just wish they'd add a player-driven auction house or brokerage for materials attached to the BGS. That way you can just buy the crap and save yourself a few hours' grinding unless you want to sell, and there'd be a purpose to materials grinding beyond engineering -- it'd be a legitimate way to earn credits.

The materials trader is a godsend...

It's nice, sure, but the conversion rates are kind of awful and there's a lot better ways to handle that than what we have.

I've got a Phantom, but never really finished kitting it out...

Oh yeah, Phantom's a trash fire for anything but exploration and rare materials trading compared to other, cheaper ships. But good God, is it amazing for those two things. I've been planning a real shakedown cruise to Colonia, Sag-A*, and back since I got the thing, and while I could do it now I want to finish engineering the thing first.

I dumped a Guardian FSD booster on it, because that ~4ly makes a big difference for something with such a short range. It's a nice and easy quality of life thing.

Hell, I dropped a C3 Guardian FSD boost in my Courier. That ship's still on the backburner until I can get it engineered up -- I built it as an all-purpose bubble-runner which means it'll have to be engineered through the eyeteeth before I can really expect much out of it -- but it's still a fun fly as-is. Right now, I have that, my mining Python, my Funship, my Phantom, and my Tradeconda to finish off which is going to mean unlocking the rest of the engineers and grinding an absolute ass-ton of materials, but once I get all that done I'm planning on finally picking up a Chieftain to fill the "not a damn brick" combat role.

So this would mean, if true, Michael Keaton would have blown up like 600 years ago, give or take a century?

Eacaraxe:

Yeah, it's the "do thing, relog, do thing again" nature of materials farming I loathe. The Jameson crashsite is stupid but it's a lightning-quick grind for months' worth of mats, but wake scanning and HGSS farming are just horrendous. About the only one I halfway enjoy is the Dav's Hope Raceway, and that's because gotta go fast.

HGSS have had their frequency upped. Not by much, but enough to make a difference. Although pharmaceutical isolators and improvised components are still hard to the point of awful to find, at least you barely need the former and can almost completely ignore the latter.

I really just wish they'd add a player-driven auction house or brokerage for materials attached to the BGS. That way you can just buy the crap and save yourself a few hours' grinding unless you want to sell, and there'd be a purpose to materials grinding beyond engineering -- it'd be a legitimate way to earn credits.

I think what they may be trying to avoid are systems where longstanding players can gift new players millions of credits so they can skip the grind and slot straight into a death machine (even if they can barely fly it).

That may be about a) improving player numbers by making them grind rather than go straight to the top and potentially get bored faster, and b) ensuring newbies have a PvP playground with other newbies on a roughly equal footing rather than have some roflstomped in their Sideys and Adders by Anacondas.

It's nice, sure, but the conversion rates are kind of awful and there's a lot better ways to handle that than what we have.

Yeah, I could certainly live with kinder conversion rates. 1:6 is amazingly poor when trying to pick up other equal-tier mats.

Hell, I dropped a C3 Guardian FSD boost in my Courier. That ship's still on the backburner until I can get it engineered up -- I built it as an all-purpose bubble-runner which means it'll have to be engineered through the eyeteeth before I can really expect much out of it -- but it's still a fun fly as-is. Right now, I have that, my mining Python, my Funship, my Phantom, and my Tradeconda to finish off which is going to mean unlocking the rest of the engineers and grinding an absolute ass-ton of materials, but once I get all that done I'm planning on finally picking up a Chieftain to fill the "not a damn brick" combat role.

Let me see... I've got a Federal Corvette just for a sense of invulnerability (it's all but indestructible in PvE). FdL is on balance a better combat ship - the manoueverability means it can usually kill faster despite the odd squeaky bum time if it hits a lot of opposition and a Krait II when I just want to buzz around with no fixed plan as it can do everything. Then in second tier use, an explo-focused Asp and a Vulture (which I'd owned a long time but engineered late last year to see what it was like upgraded), and a part-engineered Cobra IV I use when I have to do mining. It's about as small a mining ship as is worth the bother, but I've never invested much in mining.

After that, I've got an unengineered Type 7 I bought years ago and did a bit of trading with, but I never was that interested in trading and should probably just sell, the unfinished Phantom, and my Cobra Mk. III (also unengineered) that I kept as a memento. As far as I can tell, the Type 7 is mostly a liability if you encounter the wrong type of pirate: can't run or jump away.

Silentpony:
So this would mean, if true, Michael Keaton would have blown up like 600 years ago, give or take a century?

Sadly it was a false alarm, thinking right now seems to be a convergence of its cycles with a generous helping of dust between us and the star. Still going to yield some interesting data.

Agema:
I think what they may be trying to avoid are systems where longstanding players can gift new players millions of credits so they can skip the grind and slot straight into a death machine (even if they can barely fly it).

Mining is so lucrative now players can be in mid-range ships within hours of starting the game, and in the big four in a couple days, provided they're searching online for guides, tips, and information. G1-4 mats are plentiful enough they'd likely only sell for a couple thousand each at most, and G5 mats would probably top out at maybe a hundred thousand apiece, so it's not like it would be an economy-breaker.

Which, that's the big problem the game faces at the moment, the discrepancy between in-game tools and outside-game tools. It's rather silly a significant chunk of game time would be spent on Inara, EDDB, Coriolis, and other tools thanks to how clumsy the in-game tools are. Especially in a game in which trading and hauling commodities is such a large focus. All the game's tools need to at least be on par with the route planner.

Let me see... I've got a Federal Corvette just for a sense of invulnerability (it's all but indestructible in PvE). FdL is on balance a better combat ship...

I went the Imperial route, but I do plan to grind Fed rank at some point. I'm happy enough with FGS, and don't see getting a Corvette as a huge priority right now. Funny enough, it's my experience in FGS that makes me more inclined to get a Mamba if I'm going to ever pick up one of the high-end Zorgon Peterson combat ships. I'm already used to flying FA-off, using boost for maneuvering, and reverse turning/flying to compensate for weak rotational characteristics.

Hence my desire for a Chieftain as a second combat ship. I want something that's still tanky, but has strong lateral and rotational characteristics as a complement for my FGS.

My Conda's going to be my big PvE "doomship"; it's going to take significant engineering and I'll be missing out on SCB's/HRP's, but I'll be able to squeak out decent combat performance without compromising cargo capacity too much. I'll probably have to compensate by running bi-weaves and resistance-heavy SB's, but it should be by the end of it capable of handling everything except high-intensity CZ's.

Eacaraxe:
Mining is so lucrative now players can be in mid-range ships within hours of starting the game, and in the big four in a couple days, provided they're searching online for guides, tips, and information. G1-4 mats are plentiful enough they'd likely only sell for a couple thousand each at most, and G5 mats would probably top out at maybe a hundred thousand apiece, so it's not like it would be an economy-breaker.

Which, that's the big problem the game faces at the moment, the discrepancy between in-game tools and outside-game tools. It's rather silly a significant chunk of game time would be spent on Inara, EDDB, Coriolis, and other tools thanks to how clumsy the in-game tools are. Especially in a game in which trading and hauling commodities is such a large focus. All the game's tools need to at least be on par with the route planner.

Yeah, I had to do some mining (engineer unlock) somewhere in the middle of last year; I'd noticed with void opals and stuff that there was some stupidly awesome income to be made quickly - just required a quick zip through the guides, as you say.

My feeling is that games like Elite would rather relegate lots of guides to the user base. Cheaper and easier than coding anything in-game. What I do think makes no sense is that the lack of trading info is absurd: how would you not know what the prices were in another system in a galaxy where you can go 50ly in a few seconds?

Hence my desire for a Chieftain as a second combat ship. I want something that's still tanky, but has strong lateral and rotational characteristics as a complement for my FGS.

My Conda's going to be my big PvE "doomship"; it's going to take significant engineering and I'll be missing out on SCB's/HRP's, but I'll be able to squeak out decent combat performance without compromising cargo capacity too much. I'll probably have to compensate by running bi-weaves and resistance-heavy SB's, but it should be by the end of it capable of handling everything except high-intensity CZ's.

Might want normal shields on a 'conda rather than biweaves: has a fair bit less shields than a FC and so harder to get the shield tanking up. It's really SCBs however that make them virtually indestructible, even in a high intensity combat zone. Still, easy enough to get a mean combat ship with over 200t cargo space, ~4-5000 hp (effective) shield and hull each.

I was wondering about the mamba. A couple of my friends have it and prefer it to the FdL for the better hard point placement, but I wonder whether it's worth the loss of agility.

Agema:
My feeling is that games like Elite would rather relegate lots of guides to the user base. Cheaper and easier than coding anything in-game. What I do think makes no sense is that the lack of trading info is absurd: how would you not know what the prices were in another system in a galaxy where you can go 50ly in a few seconds?

I can certainly see the argument, but on the other hand I still feel as a matter of principle games should not need exterior sources to be played effectively. A player base will generally make better tools than what are available, but I don't feel that excuses a developer from making a usable toolkit in-game.

One thing that was a real eye-opener to me, was last week or so on the Elite Reddit someone shared screencaps from the game's pre-release footage. What trading was apparently supposed to be, is so different from what we have that it looks like an entirely different game. FDev was apparently planning on a galactic market of complexity and depth somewhat parallel to EVE's, even if it wasn't necessarily based on player crafting but rather commodities trading in general. Consignment, brokerage, futures trading, galactic market versus "local" sales. It really put a contrast to what we have now, and I'm honestly hoping even five years after the game came out FDev still works a system like that into the game.

Might want normal shields on a 'conda rather than biweaves: has a fair bit less shields than a FC and so harder to get the shield tanking up. It's really SCBs however that make them virtually indestructible, even in a high intensity combat zone. Still, easy enough to get a mean combat ship with over 200t cargo space, ~4-5000 hp (effective) shield and hull each.

My final build is going to sit at ideally 324t cargo space; I plan to run C6 shields over C7, and not loading out SCB's or heat sinks. My intent with it is just to poke around CZ's and resource extraction sites to bust up trading monotony, and fend off interdictions. So, I don't necessarily intend to be in intense combat, and have the ability to sit back and recharge as-needed. A big reason I'm eyeballing bi-weaves is to run light on the power plant (hoping to keep power demands within the capacity of an overcharged 6A) as a best-possible compromise to keep my laden jump range over 35ly; 6A shields might be a bit taxing, so if I have to downgrade I may as well run resistance-heavy bi-weave.

I was wondering about the mamba. A couple of my friends have it and prefer it to the FdL for the better hard point placement, but I wonder whether it's worth the loss of agility.

To me it just seems a matter of whether you prefer boom-and-zoom style play, or orbiting a target to stay out of weapons arcs. On paper Mamba seems friendlier to players who like FA-off, boost turning, and playing the geometry game, but it definitely doesn't seem like the ship you want if you prefer the closer-range style of dancing around a target jockeying for position. Mamba just seems a better fit for my preference is all.

Eacaraxe:
I can certainly see the argument, but on the other hand I still feel as a matter of principle games should not need exterior sources to be played effectively. A player base will generally make better tools than what are available, but I don't feel that excuses a developer from making a usable toolkit in-game.

Maybe; thinking about parallels like spell/skill choice in RPGs, you see the baseline rules but often not the effects, which only come with experience. Although the balancing involved in ship design, more so with engineering, is much more complex in E:D. I think part of it is that E:D was built up from bare bones with live development. They're already way behind schedule on a lot of things - I suspect coding tools was more they could do without.

One thing that was a real eye-opener to me, was last week or so on the Elite Reddit someone shared screencaps from the game's pre-release footage. What trading was apparently supposed to be, is so different from what we have that it looks like an entirely different game. FDev was apparently planning on a galactic market of complexity and depth somewhat parallel to EVE's, even if it wasn't necessarily based on player crafting but rather commodities trading in general. Consignment, brokerage, futures trading, galactic market versus "local" sales. It really put a contrast to what we have now, and I'm honestly hoping even five years after the game came out FDev still works a system like that into the game.

Yeah. E:D had grand designs, but very little funding to make it happen. I know a guy who used to work for Frontier as a project manager - they were constantly working on Elite in small ways for years, but were not a big and rich studio to make a hugely complex game. It started primitive but what was there was smooth, and then I suspect what they focused on to build up may have been guided heavily by the player base.

I am bewildered people want the devs to work on wandering their pilots around space stations. It strikes me as like playing a fight sim just to walk to and from the plane in the hangar - missing the point. I'd rather have an amazing, detailed galaxy based around flying a ship - including such things as a complex economy system for trading - than what will almost certainly be a less than thrilling sub-FPS walking component.

But hey, if I'm outvoted I'm outvoted.

The end point of a totally integrated game world with walking around space stations, planets, and getting in your ship and flying is a lovely one. I'd just rather have the ship flying optimised before adding a hiking simulator.

My final build is going to sit at ideally 324t cargo space; I plan to run C6 shields over C7, and not loading out SCB's or heat sinks. My intent with it is just to poke around CZ's and resource extraction sites to bust up trading monotony, and fend off interdictions. So, I don't necessarily intend to be in intense combat, and have the ability to sit back and recharge as-needed. A big reason I'm eyeballing bi-weaves is to run light on the power plant (hoping to keep power demands within the capacity of an overcharged 6A) as a best-possible compromise to keep my laden jump range over 35ly; 6A shields might be a bit taxing, so if I have to downgrade I may as well run resistance-heavy bi-weave.

Ah gotcha - when you said doomship I thought you were aiming at something a bit more stompy. I agree biweaves are great for energy efficiency, because the recharge is such a massive plus unless you're taking particularly heavy fire.

To me it just seems a matter of whether you prefer boom-and-zoom style play, or orbiting a target to stay out of weapons arcs. On paper Mamba seems friendlier to players who like FA-off, boost turning, and playing the geometry game, but it definitely doesn't seem like the ship you want if you prefer the closer-range style of dancing around a target jockeying for position. Mamba just seems a better fit for my preference is all.

I play E:D with mouse and keyboard; I found flying with FA too difficult to control.

I'm pretty sure a PvP player would scrub me efficiently enough - I've seen vids of those guys and I just don't think I can get that much control. A lot of that is I think a substandard control mechanism, coupled with the fact I'm getting a bit old and my co-ordination isn't what it was, so I find it pretty hard to manage the finer details of things like pip management. I could usually keep my FdL mostly with a fire arc against Pythons and larger; not so much Asps, FD/FGs, etc.

Agema:
Snip because I'm freaking lazy.

Don't get me started on space legs. I don't think most really realize how much developer time is going to be eaten up creating assets for that, when a lot of other things could be done faster and easier to improve the game experience overall. I get it'd be cool to walk around inside and around your ship, but there are things which should be higher priorities which continue the game's lifespan, now.

I get the struggles of a smaller dev trying to make such a huge game, I really do. I appreciate it for what it is, but because of that I see what it isn't, and would love to see what it could be. I don't want to come off as my criticism being from a fundamentally negative place. But on the other hand, I do keep hearing rumors that a lot of E:D's development staff has been retasked to DLC development for Jurassic World Evolution and that basically a skeleton crew is working on the season 4 paid update, which I do find of some concern, but as long as the product is timely and decent quality I won't complain.

The suspension of CG's and Galnet is kind of annoying, especially since Drew Wagar has been doing some grievance-airing on his podcast of late and indicating the lack of lore development has been a deliberate choice against developers', writers', and the community's wishes. CG's and Galnet were what gave the game that bigger scope and were a huge chunk of feeling like you're playing in a living galaxy, and without them it definitely feels much hollower than it was with. One can only hope FDev sees the value of the ongoing story and changes course soon, definitely before the season 4 release which we've been promised to be the resumption of those features.

Nah, with "Doomship" I just meant large, with big guns. Realistically my FGS is the tank, and unless I'm going to dump a billion creds or more on a ship I plan to haul cargo with and kill its jump range and cargo capacity in the process, the FGS is going to continue being my tank.

I play on PS4, so I have my trusty dual shock which doesn't do half bad in the game. I just wish I could do controller/keyboard to offload hotkeys I rarely use. Actually, I figured mouse would be a better-fit for FA-off than on, set mouse movement to pitch and roll and you can just flick your wrist for rotational movement rather than have to constantly reposition your mouse. Mouse would definitely be a control scheme I wouldn't want to use on the regular, though.

Being stuck with a controller is why I stick to gimbal-mount weapons. I can't get the fine control needed to plant shots with fixed-mount weapons with analog sticks. If I had a HOTAS I'd definitely stick with fixed-mount weapons, but I don't.

Eacaraxe:

Don't get me started on space legs. I don't think most really realize how much developer time is going to be eaten up creating assets for that, when a lot of other things could be done faster and easier to improve the game experience overall. I get it'd be cool to walk around inside and around your ship, but there are things which should be higher priorities which continue the game's lifespan, now.

I get the struggles of a smaller dev trying to make such a huge game, I really do. I appreciate it for what it is, but because of that I see what it isn't, and would love to see what it could be. I don't want to come off as my criticism being from a fundamentally negative place. But on the other hand, I do keep hearing rumors that a lot of E:D's development staff has been retasked to DLC development for Jurassic World Evolution and that basically a skeleton crew is working on the season 4 paid update, which I do find of some concern, but as long as the product is timely and decent quality I won't complain.

The suspension of CG's and Galnet is kind of annoying, especially since Drew Wagar has been doing some grievance-airing on his podcast of late and indicating the lack of lore development has been a deliberate choice against developers', writers', and the community's wishes. CG's and Galnet were what gave the game that bigger scope and were a huge chunk of feeling like you're playing in a living galaxy, and without them it definitely feels much hollower than it was with. One can only hope FDev sees the value of the ongoing story and changes course soon, definitely before the season 4 release which we've been promised to be the resumption of those features.

My feeling is that Frontier have probably decided that the income to be gained from E:D is now so small it can't justify much dev time. They've sold 3 million copies of the base game as far as I'm aware, but only 1.3 million of Horizons giving some idea of drop-off. I'm guessing if the next expansion is paid for, sales will be even lower. Heaven knows how much they're making from microtransactions.

I think Frontier was pretty middling as devs go before E:D. However their recent games from E:D onwards, whilst not being major Starcraft or Fortnite size smashes, have done well and given them substantial security.

I suspect the plan is to gradually add on a few features, much potentially planning for the next iteration. I think they suggested a 10-yr lifespan for the game, but likely they'd be prepping a sequel, and a lot of the existing world development from E:D could be applied onto a new, updated engine.

I was trying to remember where I'd heard the name Drew Wagar before... then it came to me. He's also written a book based on another 8-bit classic made about the same time as the original Elite called Lords Of Midnight.

Being stuck with a controller is why I stick to gimbal-mount weapons. I can't get the fine control needed to plant shots with fixed-mount weapons with analog sticks. If I had a HOTAS I'd definitely stick with fixed-mount weapons, but I don't.

As far as I'm concerned, gimbals are just superior full stop. Fixed mount weaponry is more powerful shot for shot, but for sustained fire you'll pack out more DPS if you don't have to constantly have the crosshairs on the target. They're pretty much essential on any ship using a combination of laser and kinetic weaponry if you want to fire both at the same time.

 

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