After playing Elite: Dangerous for a few weeks, I thought I could provide a general guide of things I have encountered which should hopefully make things easier.
The game is still currently in development and therefore is likely to change, so just regard these as an overview of Premium Beta 2.02 and it may not be relevant to the finished game. I will also avoid complaining about bugs as the game has not been released and Frontier Developments are working to resolve them.
Before playing Elite: Dangerous, I used to play Eve online and that has taught me a few things. Eve is a hostile game and even inside the high security space (where players are protected by powerful law enforcement), you can still be killed in the blink of an eye if you do not keep your wits about you. Basically, you just can’t allow yourself to be placed in weak moments, where things can occur outside of your control. By learning the game and all the details, you can minimize risk and loss. In reality, you can’t control everything, but you can exercise some control. For example, thinking “I know I have used all my credits to fill my trade ship full of cargo and I can’t afford to pay for the insurance, but..”. Not good, you need to show some quality and just take a little longer while keeping enough aside for the insurance payout and enough to continue earning. Don’t be afraid to down-grade your ship if it means you will have more capital to work with.
Things like knowing the Cobra Mk III is currently the fastest ship in the game when it diverts full power to it’s engines, means that you know you will not be able to boost away in an Eagle/Sidewinder. You are better off turning around and getting as close as possible where your extra maneuverability should mean you can cause some damage.
Docking in Elite: Dangerous
This is one of the more skillful aspects of the game and once you follow the process of approaching well to the correct position and going through the sequence, you shouldn’t encounter too many problems. Click here for a docking guide and video.
I would say the concept of a small rotating portal for all players to fly through is hard to understand from a griefing perspective. It would be quite easy to just fly full speed with afterburner into a ship that is docking and cause them to be damaged or be destroyed. Sidewinders are free, so there is no real consequence for doing this. Players attacking players may trigger a response from local law enforcement, but there does not appear to be a mechanism to also punish the gang members scooping up the cargo.
Combat in Elite: Dangerous
Honestly, I am finding this harder than I expected. I have played various space shooters before and found I was quite quick to start racking up the kills. I played Elite: Frontier a great deal and played and modded Freelancer for over 4 years, but combat so far doesn’t quite feel right. I did opt for the Thrustmaster T-Hotas stick with combined throttle which is quite a premium stick, but there is a noticeable “deadzone” for both the stick and the throttle. This means, I need to move the stick further before it registers my movement. Unless I have missed something, I think this stick/throttle would be better suited for a flying simulator and not a fast paced dog-fighting shooter. That said, I have still got 27 confirmed kills, but they tend to be mostly npc’s (non-player controlled targets). I have found the resistance setting on the base of the T-Hotas joystick being set to none really helps.
Trading in Elite: Dangerous
This looks to be where the big money will be. My initial trading route was just Aulin to iBootis, but they have recently removed the Progenitor Cells, which was my main cargo (from Aulin). I think these changes just mean, you will need to look for a bigger ship earlier. The Cobra was a surprisingly good trade vessel, with 36 cargo units and good speed, and one I will use in the finished game.
I did find that by just assigning full power to the engines and boosting away, I was able to escape all interdictions. This will most likely change with the release of the finished game.
So far, so good. The game is still very much work in progress and I am eager to see the changes made for the new Standard Beta release on 29th July 2014.