Terrycloth (terrycloth) wrote,

Games.... part 1: Elite

I haven't posted in a while, have I? So, let me complain about video-games. I promise I'll only complain about the ones that I like!

First in the 'why am I enjoying this?' pile is Elite:Dangerous. It's very well built and fleshed out for a pre-alpha release! Only, it's supposedly not only out of beta, but starting into the second season where you have to pay for an expansion pack. It has stuff you can do, but none of it is very deep and the only storyline is manually applied by the devs through webpage announcements and public quests.

Unless you count Powerplay, I guess. That's where you choose a side and do mind-numbing grinding for hours and hours each week to help them take over and keep hold of various star systems. It's the sort of thing I might want to do a little of, except for one small, niggling detail: signing up for powerplay spawns continuous random interception by powerful NPC ships that make everything else you might want to do in the game no longer fun. It doesn't warn you about this -- it warns you that you'll be making enemies, but one would assume that if you stayed inside friendly territory at least, you could play the game normally. Nope!

That leaves trading (only bearable using 3rd party websites, only profitable doing mind-numbing grinding of A-B-A routes), bounty hunting (where you go into one of three styles of bounty hunting instances and kill infinitely spawning enemy ships... or you can hunt for them in a more legitimate fashion if you want to be really, really bored), mining (MUCH less tedious if you remember two rules: (1) only mine in rings since asteroid belts are just stupid, and (2) have at least 4 collector limpets and 2 medium mining lasers so that you can spend 45 seconds per asteroid instead of 5 minutes), and exploring (for when you really, really want to read a bunch of fanfiction and figure you might as well be technically playing a game at the same time).

'Serious' exploring involves flying thousands of light years away from earth. You can explore the entire galaxy! But... it's procedurally generated, so why would you do that? 'Hey look, this randomly generated system is really weird-looking!' Or do you think it's fun to spend a week making your way back to civilized space where you can play the game in any other fashion?

Oh, there's also smuggling, which is normally a sort of stressful variant of trading but can be abused horribly by going to this one station way out in the middle of nowhere (250 ly from the next nearest system) which makes the payouts for each mission insane, and THEN also logging on and off hoping to randomly attach to different servers so that you can force more and more missions to respawn letting you stack a dozen at a time. I... haven't tried it, but it's literally 50 times more profitable than anything I've done. I've just read about it on the message board and it's so... scummy. The log-on log-off repeat part especially.

Then you have to abuse more bugs to actually succeed at 12 smuggling missions simultaneously, since each one spawns cops to try to intercept and scan you. The tricks include things like pretending that you're going to shoot the cops which makes the AI abort the scan every time, using a ship so fast that you get out of scan range before the scan finishes, and positioning yourself with your back facing the sun when you warp in and waiting there for a while until everyone who's going to spawn on you for that system spawns inside the sun and dies. You can't use the built-in tools that are supposed to help avoid scans (silent running and chaff) because they're buggy and don't work.



I really don't know why I play this game.
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