So, I’m just about to buy an Anaconda, but I want to share a little of the journey to this point. It’s probably a very similar journey to many others, since Elite: Dangerous is still at such an early stage and there are not many routes to bigger ships.
The Sidewinder was more fun than a starter ship had any right to be, and as I discovered a few times after upgrading to the Eagle, it isn’t bad in a dogfight either. I didn’t really learn to fly it very well, as the ‘bugginess’ of the early Premium Beta (PB) kinda made PvP or NPC bounty hunting a frustrating pastime. Still, I managed to trade enough to fit a couple of decent guns, and farmed the Fed Distress Signal.
With my first 100k credits earned, I bought an Eagle and fitted it with 3 class 1 gimballed pulse lasers. I tried other weapons too, including fixed multicannons, but in the end, I found the gimbals were best for the farming of NPC’s. The Eagle is an amazing ship. It’s the dog-fighter par excellence. Nimble, very quick, and well armed for a small ship, it can fly rings around almost anything else, if the pilot is good enough. I picked up a few neat moves, but I fear I will lose them quickly if I don’t get back into an Eagle soon. Like most fighters, it needs a lot of management to use it well, including power distribution and weapon fire-groups. It’s not the kind of bird you fly for relaxation!
As a side note, I think both the Sidewinder and Eagle need intuitive use of ‘head-look’ to really fly well in dog-fights. They both offer great panoramic vision and, therefore, visual tracking of targets that are not directly ahead, but unfortunately, my current joystick doesn’t really have enough controllers to use lateral thrusters and head-look at the same time. Also, I don’t think my brain could handle all those different directions at once! In a couple of weeks I should have TrackIR set up, so I may well go back to the Eagle to really test it out.
Eventually, through NPC farming and trade, I had saved about 500k, and so it was time to move on to the Cobra. At this point PB2 had just been released, so I didn’t bother to make use of the new Hauler. I did explore the combat side of the Cobra somewhat, though mostly flying backwards and taking NPC’s out one at a time! It’s a fun ship to fly, being the fastest around at the moment, but don’t let that speed go to your head: A skillful Eagle pilot will give a Cobra pilot a good run for his or her money, and two would make any wise Cobra pilot boost for freedom. Jumping from 4 to 36 cargo units also makes trading a much more profitable pastime. I ran high profit goods for about 15 hours, over 3 days, with forays to various unidentified signals as a break from the trading routine. Thanks to my taking 2 weeks off to watch the World Cup, I had also managed to save 2m credits by this point: Enough to get a Lakon Type 9.
And so here I am. 10m credits saved, and a lot of practice at docking a Lakon. I have to say, trading in the Lakon is actually way more fun than wasting a Cobra on such a mundane role. The Lakon feels, and is, big. It’s very slow to turn, and makes some wonderful bleeping and ticking noises as you trundle your way between the stars. Never knowing whether you’re going to make into the station before an opportunistic Anaconda takes you out adds to the drama. Many a time I landed, and my hands continued trembling after the clamps had locked, and sometimes that was just down to my own rather hit and miss flying!
Docking a Lakon is reward in itself, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 8 hours it took me to turn 2m into 10m credits. It can certainly hold its own in a fight, too, with the ample power grid enabling almost non-stop laser fire, if you can get your enemy in your sights that is. One tip; full shields on entering the docking bay is even more vital with this beastie.
Following the first rulle of Elite: Dangerous, I now have enough credits to buy and fit an Anaconda, with spare for insurance and a good bit left over. … Time to make the trip to Freeport to buy myself a proper spaceship!