I'm Addicted to Elite: Dangerous

I've been playing a LOT of games recently, looking for my next big addiction. Recent games i've been hooked on have included FIFA, Destiny and The Division. I ended up trying something completely different.

Elite: Dangerous is a space simulator. Players start at a random spaceport and have to make their fortune in any way they see fit - dogfighting with wanted pilots, mining planets in your moon rover, or simply ferrying items from one end of the galaxy to the other.

What sets Elite: Dangerous apart from arcade-style space titles is it's complete lack of handholding. It took a tutorial and forcing myself to practice for an hour or so to learn the intricacies of landing my ship. While this sounds simple, here is what this entails: flying to within a certain distance, requesting docking permission, entering a space station via a narrow docking entrance, slowing to the speed limit, deploying landing gear, following the guidance system to land the right way round and FINALLY touching down.

Usually, that amount of complexity would turn me straight off, but I was in a focused mindset when jumping in and was determined to learn the ropes before deciding to spend more time with the game. While the landing procedure was a minor speedbump, it is one of hundreds of systems built on top of Elite: Dangerous.

Sticking to my corner of the galaxy for around 20 hours of gameplay (in 2 days... gulp), I've been ferrying data and supplies between nearby solar systems. Of the 20 hours, 19 and a half of which have been completely uneventful - just flying trade routes, making money and purchasing a new ship. The rest? Being pulled out of hyperspace by aggressive pirates (human controlled and AI) and sometimes destroying them, sometimes being shot down, but mostly escaping. Rolling around a planet's surface in a buggy, the lack of gravity sending me flying.

Elite: Dangerous is a sci-fi nerd's playground - but you have to make your own fun. Since every player spawns at a randomly decided area of the galaxy, i'm a fair few hours of play from my friends. I have to jump from solar system to solar system, refuelling as I go. Thankfully, my ship now features an auto-dock module that lands it perfectly for me in seconds (all the while playing classical music), and it now holds a bit more fuel than it used to.

Danger is never too far, however. If I get shot down while hauling some precious metals, that cargo is gone and I restart my journey at the last space station I docked at. If thats two hours of gameplay ago, so be it. I also have to re-buy my ship and all of it's components (albeit at a massively discounted rate). Progress is slow, but picking the right missions in the right solar systems can lead to a hefty stack of credits - more money and influence lead to bigger payouts and better ships. Imagine Destiny's "loot treadmill" but stretched out to days rather than hours.

And yet, somehow, despite all of this -  I can't stop playing. If you do end up jumping in, look out for me at Kadenyuk Orbital in the Kini system!

Thanks for reading!

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