TL:DR – Damn those pesky noobs

Billionaires, Billionaires as far as the eye can see! Elite Dangerous is now awash with Commanders that have enough money and enough ships to fill or even buy their own Coriolis station (Lord Braben please provide this feature). Good old Frontier have continued to included a get rich quick scheme since the day we discovered Robigo. Some players surmise that these are just randomly generated by the back ground sim and others think Frontier has included them in the game to help balance the player base. Either way the systems dishing out these high paying missions have continued to spark fierce debate.

There is a relatively small but vocal number of players within our delightfully diverse community that have openly expressed their disgust with the availability of these get rich quick areas, and the stream of newer players finding themselves with enough space-cash to buy the larger ships the game has to offer. I’m gonna lay this out quickly so you know where I am… I find this attitude disappointing and short sighted.

Now lets get into it. We love Elite at the Pixel Palace, it’s a beautifully complex game with so much on offer it is actually impossible to complete. I myself have poured over a thousand hours of my time into it and know I will double that number before I even think about moving on. It is also a stark and overwhelmingly difficult game. When loading up for the first time back in the Game Preview version of the beta, us Xbox players were given in May 2015 we knew NOTHING. One of the delightful upshots of this of course, was that the community came together to share experiences, and knowledge, and to general help one another (for the most part).

Flapping around with no idea of where to go and how to make money or gain reputation was our everything. We descended onto social media, sharing our stories of win and woe, lending tips and tricks to progress. As a community both the PC and Xbox players combined have written the “How to Guide” for Elite Dangerous as well as started clans and groups in which newer players can ask for help and assistance.

Elite has it’s very own Table top RPG coming soon to expand the experience.

Sometimes I wish I was a new player in Elite Dangerous, So I could quickly look up “how do I make money?” and get myself into a shiny new Anaconda in  matter of days or weeks. But I reflect on the reality of my experience so far… We more experienced players have been on an incredible journey with this game, and that journey is entirely ours. No NoviConda (for the record I hate that term, it’s as stupid sounding as Brexit) or mostly harmless cutter is ever taking that way from us. I know you worked hard for your ships, and with the number of hurdles we had to overcome to get to where we are, of course it took us forever! Our payment for that time wasn’t the ship though, it was the sights we saw and experiences we had along the way. The biggest loss for the majority of the new pilots in the galaxy who will use these get rich quick schemes, is simply that they will not get to experience that. I feel bad for them not for you.

Moving on from the emotion of “I deserve it more than they do” attitude that has been spotted around the community… I want to take a look at it from FDevs perspective. What they’ve created is without a doubt a masterpiece in progress. The game has updates confirmed up to at least season three and who knows where it is going next. For them to achieve this they are going to need a stream of funds coming in to expand the development team. I’ll tell you this for free, those paint jobs ain’t gonna bring you landing on planets with atmospheres. We’ll still need new players joining us in the galaxy, and we need to keep bringing more as the months and years go by just to keep the development train rolling, to see what we hope for the game become reality.

With its MMO model and there being no system for match making based on experience or rank we are all thrust into the game together with Mostly Harmless and Elite pilots crossing paths every day. Those of you that have read my previous article on griefing and combat logging will understand that space is indeed dangerous. I don’t want to spend too much time talking about the sort of player that goes to the starter systems and tries to “educate” new players with a syllabus of multicannons and plasma accelerators, but it goes without saying that new players have more than just the NPCs to worry about.

I don’t know about you, but if I was blown up by a large ship in seconds my instant thought would be do I quit this game as it’s full of socially challenged individuals, OR maybe I’d think that I should try and get a ship as big and as bad as the ship that just turned me to space confetti in the blink of an eye, and how would I do that? Well maybe I’d ask “where can I earn money fast” or watch one of the thousands of videos made by the player base on where and what to do in the game.

The Arms Race to the larger ships has become the new meta for new players

Now I agree to an extent with the people that say that rushing to complete hundreds of tasks that have high pay-outs in either trade or massacre missions are missing out in swathes of gameplay features in the game. But the reality is money these days is only half the battle in progressing in this game. So once a player has grinded up to a Federal Corvette or an Imperial Cutter (if that’s your flava) [Steve, please never use this term ever again – Ed] they still aren’t going to be powerful enough. That ship needs some Engineer attention.

Love it or loathe Engineers is actually a great mechanic to introduce you to different aspects of them game. Be it mining ten tonnes of painite (damn you Selene!!!) or travelling five thousand light years from your start point you progress to the next tier in your Elite saga through diversifying your game play (and the circle of life continues).

Elite Dangerous continues to astonish me with the multitudes of people and personalities that I’ve encountered playing it. And with any luck the recently announced PS4 version coming this year we will see an advertising campaign that draws players in on all formats (on a side note, if you’re looking at picking up the title on any platform take a look at our community, with many experienced commanders willing to help you find your way in this huge title). If we can all put aside a little resentment on how easy we assume the youth of today has it and just steer them towards the fun in Elite… Maybe, just maybe the game will continue to grow. Our journey was ours and theirs will inevitably be their own.

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