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A newbies guide to docking in Elite Dangerous

Docking in Elite Dangerous is partly what currently makes this game a simulation as opposed to an arcade game. Frontier Developments have also added a docking computer which requires class 1 internal fitting.

The docking sequence:

  1. Firstly, you need to be in the immediate area around the dockable station, so the station itself will be visible and within 8,500m.
  2. You should be flying towards the docking bay a reasonable distance from the entrance portal.
  3. If you place yourself into the best position before starting to dock, you will find it easier.
  4. Within 8,500m, open the left console by pressing [1] (or the key that you may have reassigned).
  5. From the left console you will see “tabs” along the top showing:
    Navigation, Contacts, Sub-targets, Cargo
    Elite Dangerous - Docking-guide
  6. Press [Q] or [E] to move from tab to tab. For docking you need to select the Contacts tab and press [W] or [S] to move up and down the list. Press space bar to select and from the options select request docking clearance.
  7. On some bases I think they were just busy and you may need to make a few requests. Don’t proceed though until you have clearance, as entering the docking portal without it will trigger a lethal response..
    Elite Dangerous Docking Guide 3
  8. Once approved, I just press [Insert] to lower the landing gear early and start moving through the access portal. You can also select it from [4], select the Functions tab and select it from the list. The station is turning, so keep adjusting as you go through, don’t go too slowly as it is harder and you don’t really want to meet anybody while you are going through.
  9. Make a careful note of the number you have been assigned. Don’t dock or get too close to any other landing pads.
  10. Just fly towards the pad until you are over it. I assigned the backspace key to speed 0%. This helps when you are over the center of the landing pad.  [R] and [F] are vertical thrusts accordingly, so ease yourself down most of the way. [Q] and [E] this time are used for side thrusting, so are useful for placing your ship directly over the center of the landing pad.
    Elite Dangerous Docking Guide
  11. The helping guide should appear showing your ship. You can see your center position which will need to be in the middle to dock.
  12. Bear in mind the view is slightly angled, so you should take that into account. I have a second visual check I lowered the landing gear which is lower right. Once the colour is blue, press [F] to slowly descend.
  13. If you have done it right (and you have about 10 minutes to dock), you will land and the station service will be available.

Taking Off

  1. To select a new system or cruise destination, press [1] to bring up the left console and [Q] to select Navigation. Then press [W] or [S] to move down the list until you can see your destination. Press Space to select this and press target. You can also set a route through multiple systems via the galaxy map.
  2. Select launch permission and wait for the animation to finish. Press [R] to vertical thrust,  and [W] to start moving forward slowly. Don’t go straight into the middle without checking for other players nearby.
  3. At the very rear of some stations there is a structure you will bang into if you press [R] to the middle of the station docking area, so you need to go forward quite early.
  4. Press [Insert] to remove landing gear. You have 5 minutes to leave the station, so adjust your exit for any other ships docking or leaving.
  5. It is best to line up again before attempting to leave the access portal and to leave within the blue recommended speed on the gauge.
  6. Don’t hang around in the access portal as it will quickly trigger a lethal response.
  7. Exit the station and start lining up to your next destination.
  8. Outside of the mass locked area around the station, press [J] to jump or  super cruise.
  9. You may need to accelerate before your jump or cruise initiates. Some stations like Azeban in Eranin are a bit annoying and you can’t super cruise away without aligning yourself with an exit corridor. You will quickly start heating up, so be ready to press [J] again to cancel the request and cool down, otherwise you may lose the ship.
  10. If your destination is obscured by another object (planet is directly in the path), you may need to set the destination temporarily to a location in system, enter supercruise and reset the original destination once your are clear of the planet.

T Docking Computer (internal class 1) has been added with beta 1.03 which makes docking easier. For this you just line up to in front of the docking portal as usual. When you request docking clearance it will enable the docking computer to take control. You just need to reduce your speed as instructed.

Things to avoid

While in Beta,  I did have a few things that came up which will save losing your ship:

  1. When exiting super cruise, leave as you get just below 1000 KM. It will place you in a destination locked location anyway, so a short distance from the station. I was trying to drop out close to the station and although it worked most of the time, other times I literally exited either on top of or smashed into the side of the station.
  2. When exiting the station once I pressed [Delete] accidentally and the ship was placed into a minimal silent running mode. I couldn’t find the button to switch it off (as I hadn’t used it before) and the heat inside the ship increased quite quickly. I ended up losing the ship while checking through the controls list. If you don’t use silent running very often, you might consider remapping it.
  3. If you are salvaging just outside the station, be aware it is rotating and in most cases will cause damage to your ship. Don’t get too close as you can get trapped in the architecture of the station. I didn’t lose a ship to this one, but it was tricky side and vertical thrusting out.

Click here to view the official docking guide video:
http://elite-dangerous.frontierspace.co.uk/elite-dangerous-alpha-phase-3-0-docking-tutorial/

 

A newbies guide to trading in Elite Dangerous

Elite Dangerous includes a multitude of different playing styles, but it is likely you will be doing trading at some early stages in the game. The standard Sidewinder loadout is not very effective for combat and although it only has 4 cargo space, trading is a better option. With Beta 2.02, the most common trading route is: Aulin to iBootis. With a circular trip taking you back to Aulin.

When docked in the station, open the station services. You will see the trading commodities option. It is important to note the sell price and the Galactic average. That gives you an indication of what is cheap or expensive at the base you are docked.

A newbies guide to trading in Elite Dangerous

Aulin to iBootis trading

He is an overview for our trade route:

Aulin

Buy (depending on your available credits):
Combat Stabilizers (approx 2400 credits) – Estimated profit per unit: 386
Robotics (approx 1700 credits) – Estimated profit per unit: 277
Agri-Medicine (approx 760 credits) – Estimated profit per unit: 190
Pestercides (approx 80 credits) – Estimated profit per unit: 55

iBootis

Buy (depending on your available credits):
Fish (approx 550 credits) – Estimated profit per unit: 130
Basic Medicines (approx 160 credits) – Estimated profit per unit: 70

So, as you can see from the prices and profit listed above. The trade route from Aulin to iBootis is much better for trading than the route back.

It is best to keep the cargo space full and be always on the lookout for some free salvage items. You could easily earn more from looting a single good item than from completing an entire 2 trip trading run. Be careful of salvage too close to the rotating stations though.

Elite Dangerous ships for trading

Initially you will start the game in a Sidewinder, which is free but more like a “Jack of no trades”. It can do most things, but not very well. For trading, it is all about the cargo space and you will be looking to earn as much as you can for the time you are spending.

Here is the progression of ships for trading (as Beta 2.02):

  1. Sidewinder – 4 cargo
  2. Hauler – 16 cargo
  3. Cobra Mk III – 36 cargo
  4. Lakon Type-9 – 440 cargo
  5. Anaconda – 228 cargo

The Anaconda is more like a multi-role gunship and can both trade and hold it’s own in combat.

 Trading Upgrades

Currently there are no specific trading upgrades.

A newbies guide to Elite Dangerous

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.

Weak Moments

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.

Summary

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.