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Elite: Dangerous(-ly fun)

I bought into the beta over a month ago on faith. I’d played Elite back in the wire-frame and low-res days of early computing. It was hard. 200 credits and starting out in space staring at a space station your first hurdle was to figure out how to dock without killing yourself. This was harder than it sounds.

Flash forward some 30-odd years and here’s the original developer under a new name, having built other games in the meantime, envisioning a return to Elite as Elite: Dangerous. Citing their original build of procedural content but small enough to fit on a floppy disk. Flash forward to Terabyte Hard Drives and HD monitors the new incarnation of this game is quite awesome. Following my beta investment I was watching various videos from people involved in their “Premium Beta” antics with docking, hunting pirates and hiding among asteroids. I was enamored with this one video where a player was using voice controls via Voice Attack to adjust power settings to enhance evasion and strafing runs as the need came. Another was in a npc dogfight defending a carrier under harassment by enemies, this player took some opportune damage that cracked his cockpit. Instantly a timer appears “Atmosphere depletion in 10 minutes” and starts counting. Said player lines up for Hyperspace jump and hops out to the nearest station for repairs. The whole time I’m watching with tensed nerves, this could be his death.

As of last week they opened the doors for normal Beta purchasers and I was able to play with a limited list of combat scenarios. The full game will give you a full sandboxian universe to crawl around in but for now I have several combat missions to practice against so that when the gates open we’re got some flight experience under our belts. I’d have appreciated a docking simulator as I’m sure that will kill more people on Day One than anything else.

That being said, I’m having fun. It’s very beautiful, well rendered and laid out. I’m horribly out of practice for dogfighting from my Wing Commander 2 days, but I’m picking it up quick. I ordered a CH Combatstick as the controls all but mandate a real joystick.

If you join Elite, I would love to see you and fly with you. It’s coming with what’s loosely described as three venues of interaction. Single Player, Multiplayer with Friends and Full Multiplayer.

Not quite as tactical and much more deeply sandbox simulator than EVE, if you liked one you might very well like the other and it’s hands-on approach to ship control. I’m about as excited for this game as I have been for anything and when I have a chance to delve into the docking and long-range flight on July 29th you’ll hear about it later that week for sure.