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Xbox One Gaming: Elite Dangerous: Horizons

13 Jan

Once I got into playing No Man’s Sky and joined the Facebook group for the game, the members started talking about Elite Dangerous and many were saying that it was like No Man’s Sky… but on crack and steroids. I’d never heard of it, got on my Xbox, went to the store and, okay, there it was… but I didn’t see a video for it so I didn’t pay it any more attention.

But the group’s membership was still talking about this game which, by the way, was pissing some members off because they were going on and on about a game that wasn’t No Man’s Sky but, yeah, that tends to happen. To get to things, I bought the game and with the thought that if it was similar to No Man’s Sky, it couldn’t be that bad of a game, right?

Once you get through some preliminaries like picking and customizing a character and choosing a name, it gets right into a tutorial that teaches how how to fly your ship, use its weapons, docking and undocking with the station… and holy shit. I’m used to flying “things” in video games and while I knew it was gonna take me a bit of time to get used to the game’s controller scheme, um, well, let’s say that it’s a good thing this was the tutorial and I didn’t get tossed right into the game given the number of times I either flew into the station or, when trying to chase down the targets I was supposed to shoot I didn’t need to kill them to save my life. I chased down the first target and it was a bitch because the game’s physic engine is… otherworldly; there were no reference points that I could see (other than the target I was chasing) that told me whether I was getting close to it or not and, indeed, I could see I was at full throttle but not getting closer to the target – and a target that I’d often fly right into… and the game kept telling me, “You’re not supposed to ram the target, Commander…”

Smart-ass piece of shit! But I killed the first few targets and spent the next hour and a half trying to chase down and kill this one target, reached my frustration point and before I gave into the urge to throw my controller, I shut the game down and asked myself, “What the fuck did I just get myself into?” I felt like this was the very first time I’ve ever played any game but I wasn’t gonna give up and I checked out some YouTube videos about the game and, well, shit. I know this is the way you can learn about a lot of games these days but the thing that became obvious to me was that the videos were made by players who are very good at playing the game so watching them and listening to them – and some with bad accents, and questionable command of spoken language – well, it wasn’t helping me one bit. I’ve played some games that, in the beginning, gave me fits and I conquered them and I was determined that Elite Dangerous wasn’t going to defeat me but I did leave it alone until the next day.

The next day, I crank up the Xbox and after checking for updates, went right to Elite Dangerous and with the thought that I’m going to tackle the tutorial again but instead of selecting the tutorial, I selected to play a solo game instead; it was a ‘better’ option than playing with the other players and, I felt, an option that wouldn’t get me slaughtered since there’s battling in the game and my inability to even pilot my ship would not only paint a target on me, I’d spend a lot of time dying. Slowly but surely, I kinda got the hang of flying the ship and using the various panels in the cockpit enough to try to do one of the missions provided. The end of this story is that I missed something about the mission; I had the required items in my cargo hold but couldn’t end the mission because it said I didn’t have the items – and I was okay with that (well, not really) because my main purpose was to leave the station and make the trip to the destination station…

And I got that done and learned a couple of new things, like, hmm, when you select the destination system and enter lightspeed to get there, it drops you out… right the fuck in front of the system’s primary star! I’ll admit that I panicked since, duh, that’s not a good place to be and I fumbled around just a bit too long getting away from the star and not before my ship suffered heat damage and was close to being destroyed – lesson learned. My next lesson learned what a little display they call a compass but is really more like a scope’s crosshairs; when looking for my destination, look at the compass, find the little white dot, and if you put it i the center of the scope, when you look out of the window, there’s where I’m supposed to be going! I successfully reached my destination (without any further issues) and after doing a little math conversion to get within 7,500 meters of said station, request permission to dock and, when granted, throttle down and let the automated docking procedure bring me in instead of trying to match the station’s movement and rotation which very much reminded me of watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and specifically the scene when the PanAm clipper was approaching and docking at the space station… and the game is playing the same music that’s heard in the movie.

It had me laughing and once I landed, I was giddy with my success… and exited the game. My next move was to find and join the Facebook group for this game; I’m not beyond asking for help and advice and while I went about doing that, I found the manual for the game (and for Xbox) and, at first glance, I’d have to say it wasn’t all that helpful but I’ll get to seriously reading it at some point. I join the group and get accepted and in my “thanks for letting me join” message, I mention that this game, by far, is the hardest game I’ve ever tried to play. The first response I got from the membership was a confirmation that this game has the highest learning curve of any game ever made.

Fuck me. I learned that the game was originally a PC game (and still is) and it’s actually been around for quite a while; I even learned that there’s a special controller – a HOTAS (and whatever the fuck that means) – that is very close to the controls you can see when you’re looking around you cockpit and I thought that if I was having a hard time controlling my ship with my Xbox controller, yeah, right; this controller would be quite the clusterfuck and not to mention it’s pretty expensive, to boot. I even learned that the group has a greeting: “o7” and let it suffice that it’s a greeting and one that I don’t know the origin of so, please, don’t ask. But back to the task at hand which is finding missions I could do and ones that would earn me some credits. I found courier jobs; accept the job and go from Point A to Point B and get paid; I also figured out that I could go to a station’s Commodity Market and find stuff that I could buy and carry to other places and sell it for a bit of profit and if the item was wanted at the destination my courier job was headed for, two birds with one stone!

The game was stressing me out a bit more than I like being stressed because I was still having “problems” accessing the many ship functions, not because I didn’t know how to access them but because I kept pressing the wrong button on my controller. You see, in a lot of games, the “Menu” button on the Xbox controller often allows you to access certain functions like selecting weapons or other in-game stuff and my left thumb has been trained to hit that button any time I need to do something like this in a game… but not for this one and I’ve not yet learned to keep my damned thumb off of this button but that’s kinda minor at this point. I’m doing courier job after courier job, getting paid but, importantly, I’m learning how to navigate from one place to another as well as getting a better grip on flying my ship… kinda. At one point, I had gotten in the neighborhood of a station I needed to land on but since there was a moon between me and said destination, the obvious move was to fly around the mood so that I could have true line of sight to the destination… but the game’s physics engine does a very good job of replicating being in space and I’m faced, once again, with the problem of not being able to “see” that I’m moving and relative to, in this case, the moon I’m trying to get around. I thought that maybe I can use my “warp engines” to zip to a place behind the moon which, ideally, would put the destination back into my line of sight but, nope – the damned ship kept telling me that the destination was obscured so the engines couldn’t be used.

I had managed to fuck shit up so bad that I had no other choice than to self-destruct my ship; the good thing was I didn’t lose anything by doing this and I came back into the game at a detention center which was funny but a good thing because I could go back to doing the job I’d been trying to finish and this time, I got there without too many issues other than one kinda big one: My ship’s drive dropped me out of lightspeed too far away from the ground-based station so I wound up heading in the right direction, setting my speed as high as I dared and, now, making sure I didn’t fly into the planetoid and found out that the ship kinda does that by itself; I could change my altitude and once I got to a level of flight, if I stopped flying the ship, it automatically levels itself out. Cool. I could see that getting to the station was going to take an hour – and in real time – so I just set my controller down and spent the hour messing around on my iPad while occasionally checking on my progress.

I finally got to the station and docked; I complete the mission and get paid; I select another courier mission, made sure my fuel was topped off and any damage to my ship was fixed and off I went to the next mission. I was happy that I’d managed to get this part “down pat” although, days later, I found myself in a similar situation where I couldn’t line up my destination because there was a planet in the way – and I’d already learned that trying to fly around it would be the bitch to end all bitches… so I canceled the job and flew back to the station I’d just left and while I had a bit of trouble with it, I handled it and got back to where I started. Then I left the game; I’d figured out something about its physics engine – the planets and stuff would keep doing their thing even though I wasn’t in the game so if I waited long enough, I could go back in and the planet that was in my way wouldn’t be in my way – and that worked. Another successful courier mission and, yeah, buddy – now I had enough credits to buy another ship! I really didn’t need to but I wanted to because I could. More courier missions, replenishing my credits… but there were other jobs that paid more credits and I was frustrated because even after all that I’d learned to do, I still didn’t have a clue how to do any of the other jobs, like, mining uranium or taking medicine from one station to another (remember, I didn’t manage to do that earlier).

I decided to do the tutorial for mining… and what a clusterfuck that turned out to be! I had to shut down one of the modules of my ship and before the power drain made me run out of oxygen and, well, I flunked that one. I eventually returned to this tutorial, got that module shut down and actually got to use the mining laser to chop off a chunk of… something. But now I had to open my cargo bay, chase down the piece I hacked off of the asteroid, and get it into the bay… and I managed to get that first piece but it wasn’t even as easy as the tutorial said it was… and then I had the added pressure of the asteroid field being close to the system primary (sun) and, well, yeah – didn’t we learn a lesson about that already? The tutorial said that I now had to fill my cargo hold with material and, my god – I shot off several pieces and just could not catch up with any of them to get them into my cargo hold! I couldn’t go any faster than 40kps – for some reason the game doesn’t explain but, crap, I spent a lot of time having the pieces bounce off my ship and now I’m trying to chase them down, line them up – and using the scope that I no longer trust – and, fuck, fuck, fuck. I can’t get the pieces into my hold and the tutorial is constantly reminding me to get the pieces… and I said fuck it and left the tutorial and eventually shut the game down for the night.

I’d made progress, though, including leaving the original system and making multiple jumps to another system but with a caveat: My license for the original system got revoked and as far as I can tell, there’s really no going back. I would have stayed there but when I looked for another courier job, the only job available was to travel to this other “federation” and get paid 100,000 credits – the game’s way of saying that I’d messed around there long enough – now it’s time to do some real work! My problem is that in this new neck of the woods, there aren’t a lot of “easy” jobs to do and many of them call for me to assassinate some folks or do some other shit that I haven’t learned how to do yet. Every time I leave the game, I tell myself that I’m not gonna mess with it for a while and play something else – anything else… and I keep going back into the game anyway.

I am determined to learn how to play this game one way or the other. I’ll check out the other tutorials and chances are I’m gonna fail them like I did the one for mining but I’m thinking that if I can, at the least, get the principle of it down, I’ll eventually figure out how to actually do it… and that should be interesting. The best advice I’ve gotten from the Facebook group is to do the tutorials and, yeah, well, shit – I know how that’s been going for me. I’ve been scouring the Internet to find out more about the game and at every turn, if I learn anything, it’s that this game has the highest and most difficult learning curve of any game ever made… but if others have learned how to play it, I will learn how to play it, too. It’s a challenge that I can’t ignore and I will keep at it until I get it down pat and to the point where I don’t have to think about what has to be done – it will be automatic.

Wish me luck… because I already know I’m gonna need it… and now I’m off to play Elite Dangerous.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 13 January 2021 in Xbox One Gaming

 

Tags: , ,

4 responses to “Xbox One Gaming: Elite Dangerous: Horizons

  1. collaredmichael

    15 January 2021 at 06:37

    You must be retired! lol. All this time spent on grubs game. It does sound like a tricky game to play though! Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • collaredmichael

      15 January 2021 at 06:38

      Grubs game???!!??? This game. This game!! How does autocorrect do that!!!????

      Like

       
      • kdaddy23

        15 January 2021 at 09:53

        Yeah… that damned autocorrect! I’ve typed a word and when I look at it, the word that’s there ain’t even close to what I typed. But try typing without it – I did – and I wound up turning it back on…

        Liked by 1 person

         
    • kdaddy23

      15 January 2021 at 09:51

      I am retired but I’ve always been a gamer!

      Liked by 1 person

       

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