Update and Eye-Candy
So, recently the 1.3 update aka. “Powerplay” was introduced. And with it, a large set of changes and improvements.
From new Ships as the Courier (which I loved in the beta and have since bought and kitted out) or the Diamondback, to new mechanics like the fuel-/prospecting-/collection-drones, it has been a thorough overhaul.
Two new ships have been introduced, one being the Imperial Courier (which you can see in some of the pictures below), which is a very maneuverable light ship, has 3 medium hardpoints and works extremely well against smaller ships. It costs roughly 2.5 mil credits in its basic form and fully kitted out weights in at around 8-9 mil credits. (Video)
The other is the Diamondback Explorer/Scout, a fighter that is hailed as the smaller Asp. While the Scout is relatively cheap at around 400k credits, it offers a loadout similar to that of the cobra.
The Explorer however is a clear step up from the Scout, costing 1.6 mil credits and offering 2 medium hardpoints, as well as a large hardpoint. However from my testing, the explorer is not able to support any sort of energy-weapons when fully decked out. You will need to rely on Multicannons and Cannons with their inherent ammo-expenses to battle your foes.
There are three sorts of drones now in Elite:
- The prospecting drone, which is fired by a miner towards asteroids to find out what materials it consists of, as well as if it has already been mined.
- The collector drone, which- surprisingly- collects all mining-fragments, as well a cargo-containers, and brings them to your opened cargo-hatch (Video). Great for quickly clearing weak signal sources with gold, before the trap is sprung.
- Fuel-transfer drones, which as the name suggests, transfer fuel from one ship to another. I haven’t tried theses yet, but will take a look at them in the future.
Missions now offer a greater variety and have been updated to consider your different combat-/explorer-/trader-ranks.
It is now feasible to use these missions to make money. For example, on the dangerous-combat-rank, you are offered up to 400k credits for combat patrols (e.g. “Kill 10 pirates”). And the trading/exploration-missions are treated along the same lines.
I personally like these changes, but hope that the mission-briefing is a bit uncluttered in one of the upcoming patches, as right now it displays every criteria in a simple table, making it a bit hard to read.
The largest portion of the update and incidentally the one part which I am the least exited about.
There now are 10 factions in the game, ranging from Alliance to Empire to Independent. Once you align with these, you are able to prepare system for conversion towards your faction, fortify them against hostile take over etc.
Depending on the number of missions you do for your chosen faction, you earn influence points, which you then can use to mark systems for future integration into the faction.
You are also given a faction rank based on your accomplishments, which gives you perks in the powerplay mechanic as well as some financial bonus- and if you stick longer than 4 weeks with a faction and achieve above a certain rank in these, you will be granted access to a certain faction-based weapon or ships-system.
After I bought and upgraded the Clipper, I have now bought the Vulture again- which I sold to get the ill-fated Python. I have not yet decked it out completely but I am very close to that goal, however with the recent problems RES have provided (largely dwindling bounty-payouts), I have taken on more missions to spread MALN to new systems and take these over.
I really had hoped that this mechanic would be increased with the powerplay-update, but unfortunately the primary political factions where the focus. Hopefully in a future update we will see an improvement on smaller regional powers.