Exploration and Trading in Elite Dangerous
Making a Start in Exploration and Trading in Elite Dangerous
If you didn’t know it already, Elite Dangerous can appear an overwhelming space simulator as I’ve discussed previously. Basics such as landing your ship in a space station can be tricky to get used to. However, once you’ve mastered the general idea of moving your ship through the vastness of space and begun to look at how to make some credits for your commander things start to escalate. There’s plenty of money to be made via exploration and trading in Elite Dangerous but there are also things to consider before you start filling your cargo hold and setting off on an adventure such as what ship is best suited to your needs and potential dangers on the journey ahead.
The easiest mistake to make with trading is not outfitting your ship properly. I quickly realized my starter ship, the Sidewinder wasn’t nearly big enough to take on most trade missions or to make any real money. After taking a look at what ships my local station had to offer I decided to upgrade to a Hauler which is a more sizeable ship but still affordable offering me the cargo space I needed. Different gameplay is best suited to different ships in Elite Dangerous. For example, trading requires a large cargo hold while mining requires a refinery and a mining laser. Depending on the size of your ship it might not be feasible to equip everything you could need so it’s best to prepare before you set off. My first few trading missions posed a noticeable learning curve as the game prompted me to go to a station where I’d get the best price.
Since Elite Dangerous doesn’t hold your hand much, I decided to look up some guides on trading and where to go about finding different commodities. Beyond knowing what types of stations hold different kinds of commodities the most useful tool is trade routes on the galaxy map. A vast web of coloured lines represent all the different trade routes in the galaxy and you can filter these to find where your specific goods are moving to and from. By following where goods are moving you can generally pinpoint a system where you will find your superconductors or consumer technology for a mission in high supply but if lots of the goods are leaving one system you shouldn’t always assume they’ll have some left for you. Trade data is uncovered by visiting a system or purchasing data directly about a system in your radius. By using these methods I’ve been able to get a handle on gathering items for missions but of course the players that make the most money will find a station that has a high supply of a product and supply it somewhere that has a high demand resulting in the most profit.
Next up for me to work out was exploration. I’d seen messages popping up in my HUD on occasion about uncovering astronomical bodies but it was only after reading into the subject that I discovered the importance of scanning and exploration data. By scanning a system you can uncover planets that aren’t known and if you’re the first to discover them you can even attach your name to the profiles of planets. Again, outfitting your ship correctly is important, one of the most useful upgrades early on is an Advanced Discovery Scanner which allows you to scan from a much greater distance before you get close to a planet, select it and scan it for the actual data you need. Meanwhile, a Planetary Scanner will net you even more data which can be exchanged for credits at least 20 light years away from where you discovered it. I’ve not strayed very far from the game’s starting point so haven’t fully delved into exploring uncharted systems but what I’ve discovered so far is pretty fun.
Exploration and trading in Elite Dangerous are important elements and I’ve decided they are going to be a focus for my commander over combat with plenty of depth and credits available for those who want to dive deep into these aspects of the game. I quickly realized it pays to be prepared by outfitting your ship correctly, assessing where you can make a profit via the galaxy map and investing in key items like discovery scanners early on. Next time I will detail mining, planets, reputation and factions in the game.
Do you enjoy exploration and trading in Elite Dangerous? Are you interested in the game?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, see my article on taking your first steps in Elite Dangerous.