Elite: Dangerous – the beta so far…

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The Aulin Enterprise, an oribs-type starport, in orbit around the planet Nirvana. (beta 2 screenshot)

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time participating in the Elite: Dangerous (ED) beta testing phase and I thought this would be a good place to start with my new gaming blog. ED is an upcoming space trading and combat sim (apparently on schedule to release by the end of 2014) from Frontier Developments (FD) and for those unfamiliar with it, I will be covering this game in significantly more depth in an upcoming post.

Bringing the criminal Rick Wanton to justice

Rick looked at me the wrong way, so I lit him up and consigned his remains to the void. And yes, that is a bendy Christmas tree sat on my dashboard (beta 2 screenshot)

Anyway, ED began life on Kickstarter in November 2012, with high-level backers being granted access to the alpha and premium beta testing phases. I bought in at a more modest level, which gained me access to the standard beta phase (and obviously a digital copy of the final release). The standard beta phase launched on 29 July and was followed up with the beta 2 update on 30 September. The beta 3 update is due to be released tomorrow (28 October).

Beta 2 saw the introduction of Outposts, small starports with external landing platforms (beta 2)

Beta 2 saw the introduction of Outposts, small starports with external landing platforms. This is the Azeban Orbital in Eranin, where new players spawn into the game. (beta 2 screenshot)

So according to my stats page, ED has consumed 110 hours of my life (whoops), in which I have accrued 84 million credits – much lost to game bugs and the progress wipe that occurred with the beta 2 update. FD have stated that there will only be a partial wipe for the beta 3 update, so I will lose my beloved (and heavily upgraded) Viper but I’ll keep all my credits and be remunerated for the total value of my ship. During my time playing the beta I have died 28 times and killed 712 NPCs and 4 human players. I have collected 560 bounties and committed 224 crimes, including 58 murders 🙂

Approaching the starport entrance (commonly referred to as the letterbox) with my Viper

Approaching a starport entrance (commonly referred to by the community as the “letterbox”) with my trusty Viper. (beta 1 screenshot)

Beta 1 seemed to nudge players in the direction of trading (other pursuits were very financially unrewarding in comparison), whereas rebalancing in beta 2 pushed us more towards bulletin board missions and bounty hunting, which became very profitable relative to trading commodities. One can only presume that this was all part of FD’s master plan for focussing testing on specific game mechanics.

The glass bubble type cockpit of the immense Lakon Type 9 Transporter

The glass bubble type cockpit of the immense Lakon Type 9 Transporter. ED allows you to look around your cockpit and out of the side windows. External views are not possible yet. (beta 1 screenshot)

I spent most of my time in beta 1 making a general nuisance of myself with my Viper and a four-canon loadout (yaaaaaaaaarrrrrr). I experimented with pirating, bounty hunting, mercenary work (mostly fighting in the conflict zones) and occasional acts of wanton violence towards random NPCs. When I got tired of that I moved onto to grinding out trade routes, progressing from the versatile Cobra, to the massive Lakon Type 6 and Type 9 transporters. Eventually I accrued enough credits to get my hands on the Anaconda, a huge and formidable weapons platform. Obviously I kitted this out with the best weapons money could buy and went on a murderous rampage.

Flying through an asteroid field in the Anaconda, a huge and formidable weapons platform

Flying through an asteroid field in the Anaconda, a huge and formidable weapons platform. (beta 1 screenshot)

In beta 2, I returned to my beloved Viper and became a full time bounty hunter, hanging out at navigation beacons and resource extraction sites and bringing criminal scum to swift and uncompromising justice. Fortunately, the AI has improved since beta 1, so dogfighting NPCs has become a little more challenging and fun, but there is still plenty of work to be done on this aspect of the game. Amongst other things, beta 2 introduced a more fleshed-out ship upgrade system. So I spent all my hard earned credits completely overhauling my viper with the best components I could find and afford. I ended up with a fast, versatile and formidable dogfighting machine with a decent jump range.

Resource extraction sites, mining hotspots in asteroid fields, are good place to find and hunt wanted criminals

Patrolling with my Viper. Resource extraction sites (mining zones within asteroid fields) are usually a hive of activity and a great place to find and hunt wanted criminals. (beta 2 screenshot)

All-in-all, I’ve had a great time playing the ED beta so far. It’s stunning to look at, the sound is rich and immersive and the attention to detail is bordering on fanatical. I realise this post has been a bit short on details, but I really just wanted showcase some of the screenshots I’ve taken of this promising game. As I said earlier, I’m planning an in-depth article on ED following the release of beta 3, where I will go into the mechanics of the game in some detail (there’s an awful lot to discuss).

Anyway, check out some more pics in the gallery below:

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3 thoughts on “Elite: Dangerous – the beta so far…

  1. Pingback: An introduction to Elite: Dangerous | the cake is a lie...

  2. Pingback: Getting started in Elite: Dangerous – a guide | the cake is a lie: a nostalgic gaming blog

  3. Pingback: Elite: Dangerous – one year on | the cake is a lie: a nostalgic gaming blog

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