For the past nine weeks, I’ve been writing several blog posts, or guides if you will, detailing possible careers or professions one can aspire to in Elite: Dangerous – Horizons. If you haven’t read any of them, or in case you missed some of them, you can find links to each one below:
As I pointed out in the blog post that started this whole series, these aren’t careers, professions, or classes you choose during character creation. These are just arbitrary careers the community of players have come up with based on available game play. Elite: Dangerous – Horizons is, after all, a sandbox game, so you can theoretically do whatever you like. You can, in fact, do a little bit of them all. Maybe one day you feel like trucking some haulage. The next day you want to smuggle some tobacco. But wait, maybe it would be more fun to steal the tobacco first! Whatever. It’s entirely up to you. Throw off the shackles of labels and play the game how you like.
If none of the styles of play I’ve talked about so far appeal to you, even in combination, there are still a lot of other activities you can be a part of in-game. This list will be, by no means, an exhaustive one, but I hope to highlight the most popular ones in enough detail to get you started
Powerplay is, boiled down to its most basic concept, a giant game of galactic Risk in which eleven Powers vie for control of the stations and resources in The Bubble. Through Preparation, Expansion, and Control mechanics built into the game, groups of players, pledged to these Powers, fight for control of star systems. All of the actually activity surrounding Powerplay is completely player driven, all of them using a combination of subreddits and Discord channels to coordinate, plan, and execute each week’s moves. You can locate each Power‘s subreddit by simply googling the Power leader’s name plus the word ‘reddit’ (ex. Aisling Duval Reddit). It’s usually the first hit.
To join, or pledge to, a Power you access the Galactic Powers menu from the left hand HUD (default key binding 1), click on Galactic Power Standing, click on the Power you want to join, then click Pledge Allegiance. Once pledged, you can then check the Power’s subreddit and begin doing whatever Preparation, Expansion, and Control activities they have planned. Powerplay operates in one week cycles, with each cycle starting again at 7am GMT.
The rewards for participating in Powerplay vary from Power to Power, but generally amount to access to special ship modules that can’t be acquired any other way, bonuses to trading, bounty, or exploration data payouts, as well as a weekly stipend of Credits, and all of this depending on your rank in the Power and tenure. Rank also degrades over time, so in order to maintain rank you must participate each week. Details on each Power‘s rewards can be found on the Pledge tab for each Power in the Galactic Powers UI.
It should be noted that most Powers also have a punishment for Leaving or Defecting to another Power. This usually amounts to being hunted by NPCs (and sometimes Players) from that Power for a set period depending on your rank when you left or defected. Being pledged to a Power also tags you as Hostile when in systems controlled by enemy Powers. It’s definitely not for everyone, and it has its downsides like anything else, but if you’re interested in learning more, check out some of the Power‘s subreddits. In any case, Powerplay is one great way to meet, make friends with, and be killed by a lot of Players.
Community Goals are weekly scenarios (they reset at the same time as Powerplay), set up by Frontier, where players can work together to achieve a set of tiered goals for a reward (usually in Credits) based on participation. They are basically meta missions that anyone can sign up for and participate in and are usually time limited to one week (though some, like the recent Colonia Connection CG, have time limits of several weeks).
These meta missions usually involve sourcing and then delivering specific commodities to a specific station (trade) or collecting bounties from specific targets in specific systems (combat). Sometimes they will call for exploration data to be sold to a specific station (exploration), and there’s usually at least one combat and one non-combat CG running each week. You can sign up for CGs through the Mission Board in Starport Services of any station, and you can sign up for as many as you like.
Participating in combat based CGs is usually pretty straight forward: go to the system in question, locate the targets required, either near the Nav Beacon, in RESs, or in supercruise in interplanetary space, kill them to collect the bounty vouchers, then turn them in at the specified station. The trade based ones can be a little tricker because you first have to find somewhere to source the commodities needed. A lot of times folks in the community will have done the legwork and you can find sources for the commodities on reddit or in the official forums. If you want to find them yourself, you can use EDDB‘s Commodities page. Simply choose the commodity from the list, enter the system where you’re going to deliver them in the Current System text box, choose Buy from the Buy or Sell drop-down, then click Find Stations in the lower left. It should present you with a list of stations where that commodity is being sold, in ascending order of distance. Then you go buy the commodities from the Commodities Market at the source station, and then sell them to the Commodities Market at the destination station. Easy-peasy. Exploration CGs are also pretty straight forward: sell exploration data at the target station. If you want to know how to gather exploration data, see my post on Explorers.
You can check your progress on CGs you’re singed up for in the Transactions tab of the left hand HUD. It will also show the current participation tier reward you’re eligible for. Rewards are collected from a specified station when the CG ends. CGs, like Powerplay, are a great way to meet other players; some will want to wing up, others prefer to set up blockades and try to prevent deliveries to the target stations. Either way, you’re meeting new people.
Player Groups and Factions
Elite: Dangerous – Horizons, like many sandbox MMOs is heavily driven by its community of players. It’s further bolstered in this by a great deal of support for player groups from the game’s developers, Frontier Developments, who allow player groups to form local factions that are represented in the game. Many of these player groups are simply collectives of the profession archetypes I’ve described in my previous posts, but some have carved out unique game play that doesn’t really fit into any other career. Below are some of the more notable ones.
Mobius: While many players enjoy the risks and dangers of flying in Open, there is a non-trivial number of pilots who prefer to stick to PvE activities with some guarantee of not getting ganked by some of the more nefarious members of the community. To that end, Mobius seeks to be a group for those who want to play Elite Dangerous and enjoy what the game has to offer without having to worry about other players attacking them or otherwise forcing a gamestyle on them they don’t enjoy. Follow the links for instructions on how to join.
Canonn Research Group: Since launch, Frontier have been placing cleverly hidden clues about the future of the game within the game itself. If Alien Structures, Probes, and Artifacts sound interesting to you, then Canonn Research Group is for you. They have been responsible for most of the discoveries concerning these clues, applying math, audio spectroscopy, and a host of other sciencey things to solve the puzzles Frontier has breadcrumbed throughout the galaxy. Canonn Research Group also runs a private PvE server, much like Mobius, which members have access to.
The Fuel Rats: No single ship status indicator is more important to a pilot than fuel. Without fuel, you are literally going nowhere. The dedicated and selfless Commanders of The Fuel Rats are on-call 24/7 to meet the needs of stranded pilots low on fuel and time. If you find yourself stranded in the black and running on fumes, hit them up on their website and put in a call for help. They are also always recruiting, so if this sounds like something you’d like to do, you can also apply to become a Fuel Rat on their site.
Iridium Wing: Iridium Wing is a player group whose mission is to escort Explorers who are entering and leaving the bubble, preventing intedictions from pirates and rogue commanders. They provide this service free of charge, are politically neutral, and are currently accepting applications. Check them out if this sort of work interests you.
Pixel Bandits Security Force & Delta Squad: These two player groups are great examples of the Bounty Hunter/Vigilante groups that exist in Elite: Dangerous. While they certainly get up to all kinds of things in-game, they are most well known for applying their Bounty Hunting skills toward bringing player Pirates and griefers to justice. They also employ tactics for spotting player Smugglers (especially where Slaves are concerned). If you’re being trolled, or hunting down player criminals sounds like fun to you, check out their posts on the official forums.
EG Pilots: This player group is most well known for winning the Dangerous Games and being the first player group to have a Power added to the game. They are mostly composed of Russian players, though they do have English speaking wings, and are heavily focused on Powerplay. They are made up of pilots from all the archetypes I’ve posted about.
The Candy Crew: If you’re interested in racing ships or SRVs, then this is the player group for you. Though they also have an Exploration subdivision, they are most well known for organizing races across long distances in space, or through tracks they have discovered and mapped out on planetary surfaces.
Alliance Elite Diplomatic Corps: This player group is primarily focused on the Background Simulation and how it might be manipulated to shift governments, alliances, and states in The Bubble. If the politics of Powerplay aren’t enough, or you simply want to augment that experience, check out their site.
Radio Sidewinder: This is the fan run, unofficial radio station for Elite: Dangerous. They broadcast music and news for all pilots to listen to while they ply the spaceways. They also maintain a pretty long list of player groups, and are a fantastic resource of all the news that’s news in the Milky Way.
Educating Ed: This is a series of live streams hosted by Elite: Dangerous Community Content Manager, Edward Lewis. In the streams, Ed invites player groups to show him, and the viewers, what it is they do in-game. It’s a highly entertaining stream and a great source for learning about the different player groups and the unique ways they’ve found to play the game. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for new ideas for filling up your time in the vast galaxy of Elite: Dangerous – Horizons.
Most of these player groups are also represented in-game, by local factions bearing their names. They also, as a result, have system and station headquarters. Player groups are Elite: Dangerous‘s answer to the guilds you find in other MMOs and, many of them, have found unique and interesting ways to spend their time in-game.
So, you’re not interested in any of the archetypes I’ve laid out, and all of these player groups don’t seem to be doing anything that sounds fun to you. You just want to fly a fast, agile ship, shoot at other players, and blow them up. Or, maybe you want to do that in addition to whatever else you’re doing in game. Either way, Elite: Dangerous has an activity you might find interesting.
If you’ve been in game, you may have noticed the Arena option under the Start menu in Elite: Dangerous‘ main menu, or you might have noticed the CQC Rank in the right hand HUD (default key binding 4). Both of these refer to Elite: Dangerous‘ small fighter, PVP, death match arena. In it you are placed into the cockpit of one of three small fighters (also in the wider MMO as Ship Launched Fighters), and then set free in an arena, usually dominated by an orbital installation with all sorts of nooks and crannies. Here you shoot all the things and try not to get shot. No muss, no fuss. Just quick, nail-biting mayhem.
Wrapping it Up
There are of course a lot more things to do than I’ve managed to lay out here, or in my previous posts. I’ve really only gone over the things I know and am familiar with. And, of course, the game is in continual development, so there is lots more to come. I hope I’ve been able to provide you with some ideas for fun activities in Elite: Dangerous, but if not, if you’re still not quite finding your niche, there are always the r/elitedangerous subreddit and the official forums, where all things Elite: Dangerous are discussed.
This post concludes my series on professions in Elite: Dangerous. As new game mechanics are added, I will likely add to this series, but for now have fun and fly safe, Commanders. o7