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[Elite Dangerous] Transmissions From A New Commander


40-something POC Nerd (he/him)
Validated User
Nicho Peregrino here, a new Solo commander who is faced with the trepidatious step of buying his first new ship, and I don't wanna eff it up because credits. Know what I mean? So, I'm calling on the collective expertise of VGO's veteran Commanders for a little bit of help.


I'm in the Sidewinder you get if you start with Horizons, which is apparently slightly less awesome than the Sidewinder I can buy from the station I'm currently at but that's neither here nor there. This Sidey's full of Loaned items. I heard that one should store or sell whatever modules one has on one's ship prior to selling, since there's a 10% cut on anything sold directly with the ship. However, maybe I shouldn't be trying to sell Loaned gear? Also, does a new ship come fitted out with default/basic modules and stuff, or do you have to fit it out yourself and so I should keep all my old modules?

I'm looking at an Adder right now for 87.8K. I've got 183K in the bank. It seems to be in all ways an upgrade from my Sidey except for maneuverability, and I think it's generic enough to be a nice early jack of all trades ship. Right now I've been making money doing short courier hops while keeping my eye open for a passenger module so I can become a fancy space taxi for a while. Eventually I want to do some exploration in a ship with proper fittings, but I'm going to wait until I have a bit more money and skill at flying my ship. Haven't even touched combat yet.

So, yeah, any advice? Should I keep running courier jobs with my Sidey and save up some more for a different ship? Know anywhere near Eranin where I can get a passenger module? Does manual docking ever get less tense? :)


Trying to figure it out.
Validated User
There are a few things you can do...

First, dick around with that sidewinder all you want, it's basically disposable. If you fuck up and die, you'll get a ship just like it for free. Though, one really good thing to do is practice landing.

Second, you want to do either trading, FedEx jobs, or exploring until you can afford the 'mid-tier' ships, from say the Cobra Mk IV to the Asp Explorer. Then think about passengers.

I arguably cheated a little... when I got started, I followed advice I found online (maybe Reddit?) to go around scanning neutron stars and similar phenomena--IIRC, those will get you a decent amount of cash when you sell the data. As it turns out they just now revamped the scanning thing... you'll need to set all the keystrokes and such for the new modes, but once you figure that out it makes scanning systems a lot less time-consuming.

(I don't remember, can you land on planets with a n00b sidewinder?)

Finally, you want to get good at getting the hell away from fights. Either get really good at the chase-the-blue-crosshair minigame to evade interceptions or keep doing the submit (by throttling down to zero), evade-thrust-evade-MOVE until your FSB recovers, then jump out of there. (I have K set to "Jump to local supercruise")

EDIT: Almost forgot... do NOT do Open Play unless you're ready for the risks. Read 'risks' as 'other players being pirating/trolling assholes'. Stick to Solo, or find a group you can trust.

EDIT 2: One potential cash flow to consider is Rare Goods. Certain systems will make (or grow) their own special commodities... Bast, for instance, makes Bast Snake Gin. These commodities sell for a relatively low price. Nearby systems will buy it at a similarly low price... but the price increases as you get farther away from the origin station, maxing out at 120-140 ly away where the price is an order of magnitude higher. Of course, they're in small batches, but that's perfect for a Sidey. :)
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Registered User
Validated User
A new ship will come with a load of E rating modules, including a shield generator and at least one (probably undersized) cargo rack. It'll be spaceworthy... barely. That said, you probably have enough in the bank to grab some upgrades. That said, you might want to try upgrading your Sidewinder first! A fully geared Sidey is a surprisingly fun ride. Just remember: NEVER FLY WITHOUT REBUY.

"Loaned" starter equipment is worth nothing if you sell it, basically. So don't worry about selling off all the modules separately yet. Modules do sell for full price otherwise, though.

If all you're doing is courier jobs, a Hauler might work just as well as the Adder for a bit less cash, but the Adder is more durable and maneuverable. I never actually flew an Adder myself, though - went for an Eagle and did some bounty hunting when I upgraded from my Sidey - so I can't speak to how good it is. All I remember about it is the cockpit being claustrophobic. Your next upgrade after that will be the Cobra III, but then, everyone will fly a Cobra at some point. It's the most iconic ship in Elite, and an incredibly versatile and capable multirole craft for its price point.

Re: Passenger modules: remember that Luxury passenger modules (and thus those juicy VIP contracts) are restricted to luxury starships, i.e. the Dolphin, Orca, and Beluga by Saud Kruger. Outside of that, the most money you can make with passengers is by loading a cargo ship with as many passenger cabins as possible in place of cargo racks, and picking up bulk transport contracts. If you have a ship full of economy-class rooms, you can even make a lot of money by ferrying people off of stations damaged in alien attacks!

Re: Manual docking: It will always be a pain in the ass, but it's a pain in the ass you learn to enjoy. While other people might judge you for getting a docking computer, I won't. Especially if you pick up a bighuge ship like a Type 9. I wouldn't waste the space on a smaller ship like a fighter, but it also plays The Blue Danube, and that alone is probably worth it.

Edit: You can land on a planet with a starting Sidewinder if you have Horizons, but you'd have to sacrifice nearly all cargo capacity if you wanted to bring a rover. Still, I'm sure you could make it worth it; planetside missions are easy and can pay well.
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40-something POC Nerd (he/him)
Validated User
Nicho Peregrino checking in again.

Man, docking is intense and I love it. I've tweaked my controls so that I switch from a slow and steady gamepad approach to a more precise short-burst WASD + right stick on gamepad approach when it's time for the nitty gritty. And it feels good.

Actually, the whole game feels good in a way it didn't before, when I tried it like a year and a half ago. Maybe I'm just in the right headspace for it, maybe the new tutorials just worked better, not sure. In any case, I'm glad, it's been fun so far and feels very old school.

So, what I'd been doing was ferrying data and up to 2 (yes, two!) whole units of cargo hither and yon to get some scratch. Ended up buying a starter Adder (named "Little Big Monkey" after my Sidey, who was "Little Monkey") and swapping things around to give it 8 cargo slots (so many! wow!) and 2 economy passenger spots, along with the SRV module and vehicle from Horizons (which has been smooshed into the Sidey, and which isn't in the default setup I believe).

With the added flexibility of jump range and slightly bigger cargo space, my courier runs have the potential to make just a bit more money. I've already made the Adder's price back three times with just a few passenger runs, with the idea of upgrading to a 3A FSD which then gives me even more flexibility for small cargo runs and passenger trips.

The goal is to fully kit out the Adder, and then go out and do a chunk of the Road to Riches as a way to a) make a bunch of money but also b) hone my exploration skills, so that when I get back to civilization I can upgrade to a proper exploration or luxury liner/courier or what-have-you and strike out on my own.

At least, that's the plan. Fancy plan for a Commander who's only got about an hour with anything other than a Sidewinder under his belt. :)


40-something POC Nerd (he/him)
Validated User
Oh! Also, I think I'm s'posed to join an NPC faction or something? Like, the Empire or the Federation? Can I join the young Alliance, they seem to reflect my values a bit more.

Realized, while looking at the Elite Dangerous Star Map (EDSM) website here at work that I could try and support a player run minor faction that's going against an NPC minor faction for control of a few stars out in the Eranin neck of the woods. That's cool. I think my best bet is to just to missions and stuff for that minor faction? How (if at all) does that interface with working with/for a major faction? And the Powers? Should I even be worried about the Powers stuff, if I'm likely to be a 99.9% solo player?

I think I've played ED for less than twelve hours total, and last night one of my dreams was about docking a small starship somewhere.

I may need to seriously consider a flight stick...


Awaits the Ponylarity
Validated User
Oh! Also, I think I'm s'posed to join an NPC faction or something? Like, the Empire or the Federation?
Nah, there's no rush to declare for anyone, and some players never do. IIRC some ships are unlocked by raising your reputation with the Empire or the Federation, but you can do that without picking a side.


Registered User
Validated User
With regard to the Powers: last time I poked my nose into that gameplay element, it wasn't superthrilling--and taking part in Powerplay is not, as far as I'm aware, a must for getting the full Elite experience.

(It better not be, as I'm essentially a Colonia resident these days!)


40-something POC Nerd (he/him)
Validated User
Okay, I'm not really in a rush, but I do want to squeeze as much out of the experience as I can as a virtual "citizen" of the ED universe, and it seems like polities and corporations are a big deal IC.

Also, funny that you mentioned Colonia, as I read about a sort of highway of populated systems that head out that way from the Bubble, and I thought that sounded neat, so I'll probably try and head that way myself one day. Probably when I've got a few tens of millions of credits invested into a fancy ship, and not tens of thousands. ;)


40-something POC Nerd (he/him)
Validated User
And lo! I have died for the first time, and was so glad to have the insurance covered by a whole bunch. Not too happy about losing the faction standing I'd just won, but at least I'm still at neutral and, well, eventually you get scanned when you're carrying someone or thing illegal. Not sure how much smoother I could have made my approach, and I was just about to enter the station when the scan managed to finish and all the sirens went off and I got shot to pieces as I fumbled to figure out how to surrender to the cops. Sorry, fancy dude who needed to sneak into this place, you're dead now.

One, in the scheme of things a barely-upgraded Adder is hella cheap to have explode under you. Good to know. Think I should grab my old Sidey and go out and learn how to shoot people. Not that I ever plan on shooting the cops, but eventually I'll fail one of those interdiction minigames and won't be able to run.

This game is mesmerizing. When you've done a bunch of zooom bam swooosh zzzzzzzzzwwoooommm and finally get to the target system, and find yourself facing a long few minutes of zen in supercruise, watching a distant speck resolve itself into a second star's planetary system, the long moment of introspection where you suddenly notice the music that's been playing quietly all along and smile, and then you start to make small adjustments to your trajectory, more and more, some adjustments to your throttle, all the while watching bright dots become discs become sphere, and then zoom out past your field of view. That.

It's a great loop. I'm enjoying the heck out of it. The music is great.

I need so many millions of credits you have no idea. (No I know you do, pretend you don't.) So many. I made my first million dollar gig before I died on a risky contract I only took because it was the only thing making money on the way to where I wanted to go, instead of the best job. Won't make that mistake again, either do the best job, or go in a particular direction for a reason, don't compromise either for the other.

I am going to be the best dang space taxi man.


Double Clutching Weasel
Validated User
If you want to try combat, head to a RES site (anything but a Hazardous one), and follow the cops around and assist them. Let them start the shooting and do the majority of work, then jump in when the target is at 30-40%. You can do this in the starter Sidewinder if you want (and the Sidewinder is a fun ship to fly).

Of my play time, a clear majority of it has been in "ships without guns". E:D really is one of the few games I can list that really supports "pacifist play". And running away is not just about hitting boost a lot. For example, the heat of your ship will determine how far other ships can "see" you. Run it cool enough and you almost have a perma-invis. But don't worry about this right now, I'm just mentioning it as an aspect of "depth to the game" that's not immediately obvious.

As for "picking a side", there is no in game benefit (and to unlock all ships, you have to run missions for all sides), but it is fun from a roleplaying/immersion stance. Power play is still a bit more trouble than it's worth. The gameplay is grindy, the hostile ships it spawns are annoying, and the rewards aren't quite there.

You still upgrading your Adder? Any plans on which ship you're going to from there?
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