This game has a lot of stuff to do and one of them is the community goals (CG) that appear kinda regularly that’s pretty cool. The recent one is a call to all Commanders to take part in a two-part goal to build five new starports in currently uninhabited space but close to existing shipping lanes and, I guess, to expand those lanes. One part of this CG is to obtain and deliver certain materials to a central location and the other is to provide protection at the central location.
Since I’m not a player who gets into PvP battles of any kind – and because I managed to get in on the tail end of the last CG mission, I decided to jump in right at the start and use my Python – named Magellan II – to deliver my share of the materials required. I started out at my home starport, Galileo, in the Sol system by using the Inara website to, first, mark my position and then to locate the materials. I’ll add at this point that if you’re playing the game but you don’t have a profile on Inara, get one – it’s a huge help and in a lot of ways.
I located the materials I wanted to start delivering and jumped to get them and, actually, made a lot of trips from the source location to the collection point and, oops, totally wiped the source out of the required material and requiring me to not only locate a good source for something else but plotting a course to go get it. As luck would have it, the item I chose – water purifiers – was in the next system and I was happy about that because it lessened the number of jumps and, as I’ve been learning, the more jumps you make, the greater the chance of getting jumped, your cargo hijacked, and/or your ship destroyed.
And now begins The Grind which some players either complain about or try to avoid but The Grind is what it is in that if there’s something you want or need, you’re gonna have to do some work to get it. I don’t mind grinding because in some of the other games I play, well, you gotta grind to get stuff but in Elite Dangerous, yeah, I found that grinding for a CG can be even more boring that what I normally do when I play the game. Leave the collection point; jump to the source location; load up 200 water purifiers; jump back to the collection point; dock at the indicated starport, sell the water purifiers, refuel, do any repairs, and do it again.
And again. And again. I found myself wishing that an NPC bad guy would show up and try to jack me just to break up the monotony of the grinding but that never happened so I was pretty much on autopilot and, at times, nodding off. The first day of the CG, I did pretty good and my contributions qualified me to get a decent payday for my efforts. In this CG, there were five tiers involved and differing levels of rewards from getting nothing to getting paid big time if you were in the top 10% of contributors. After making my last delivery I thought, “Okay, cool – I’m gonna get something!” and also with the thought that I’d go back to doing what I normally do… but the next day, I was of a different mind about it and kept on grinding for the CG.
I wasn’t satisfied with doing the minimum work to get the minimum reward; I wanted to see how far I could go and I was grinding like crazy. At one point and while I was taking a real-life bathroom break, I got to thinking about how my Python, which is currently configured to carry 200 items, kinda/sorta wasn’t enough cargo space and debated on whether or not I wanted to get, say, a Type-9 cargo hauler which can carry a hell of a lot more cargo. I could afford it but I also got to thinking that, for one, the Type-9 hauler – and like the Type-7, isn’t so easily outfitted to fend off pirates and they handle like a brick in mud and, for the other, it would be my luck to get one, load it to the rafters… and get jumped and destroyed. So I didn’t buy a new ship and resolved to do my part in the CG 200 items at a time.
I was making around 700,000 CR (credits) every time I sold my water purifiers and I was happy about that and kept on grinding and grinding until it was time for me to shut it down and get some sleep. I awoke yesterday ready and eager to get back to the CG and The Grind to boost my contribution but when I got into the game and checked the CG status, well, damn – that part of the CG had been fulfilled and was now over with. All I could do was click on the “Complete” button and watched my credits jump to over 100 million credits – and I got an achievement for completing my first CG.
One of the the “highlights” of my participation wasn’t how easy it was for me to find a place that had what I needed; it was me paying attention to what I was doing and, sometimes, I just wasn’t. I was so into The Grind that a couple of times I left the source location… and forgot to set my destination. Indeed, in one moment, I’d undocked from the source, cleared the safe zone, went to get line up with the destination and kick in supercruise… but couldn’t figure out why all I could actually see was the starport I’d just left and not the indicator marking my destination. Oh, it was a bad moment! I’m rotating along all three axis trying to find the destination marker and, oh, somewhere around the third time spent making myself dizzy, it finally hit me that I hadn’t plotted the course back to the collection point.
Yeah… I felt pretty stupid about that. The Grind calls for a certain level of focus but because this one was so repetitive and monotonous, I was so focused that I lost focus. But wait – it gets worse! At another point, I’d forgotten where I was for a moment and that wasn’t pretty since, um, when you’re sitting in the dock somewhere, your location is right there in front of you on the cockpit panel. Then I had dropped off a load at the collection point and headed out to pick up more water purifiers… and kinda forget where I was going and then realized that, nope – didn’t plot the course to get there and making it even worse was that fact that I had bookmarked both the collection and source locations so that I wouldn’t have to keep looking them up.
I wasn’t having so much of a senior moment but, sometimes, The Grind just fucks with you like that and more so when the game isn’t doing anything to provide some kind of distraction like getting interdicted which will most certainly get your attention. A few days ago now, I was having the “interdiction day from hell” and having to fight and/or evade more than what I’d call normal when playing in Solo mode. So as I shuttled back and forth between locations, I was keeping a very close eye on my scanner’s scope and checking out every and any ship that appeared to identify them and, because this grind was so monotonous, kinda hoping they’d want to pick a fight with me just to give me something different to do.
But, yeah, I completed my part in the CG without any real problems other than the loss of focus I mentioned… but now it gets funny. With the job done, I made my way back to my home starport so I could get back to hauling cargo here and there and the first job I took once I got back home was a nice paying job of delivering an internal report to a nearby starport. One of the things I’ve learned about this game is that if a “simple” job is paying a whole lot of credits, it’s not that simple. Sometimes it’s paying so much because the destination will literally and in real time take an hour or more to get there but for this job, nah, not only did I just have to make two jumps, the destination was “only” about 300,000 light seconds from the system’s star which, in my Python and its powerful engines, meant a trip in real time of about three minutes. As I’m preparing to start the trip, I’m wondering why this routine kind of job to a system not that far away and that close to its parent star, is paying over a million credits.
And it didn’t take me long to find out why. I left home, made the first jump and while going through the process of lining up for the next jump, I see a message pop up that said, “Don’t try to run! I have you now!” Oh, shit! I’m not really worried but, as I’ve learned, if I’m going to be interdicted, I do not want to be anywhere near the star when it happens. Now I’m doing several things at once with my controller: Hitting the right buttons so that my sensors are locked on the ship that might be the one who sent the message; reconfiguring my power distribution settings to give more power to my engines; switching from Analysis Mode to Combat Mode; lining up with the next jump point while accelerating toward it and while keeping an eye on where I am in relation to the star and just as I clear the star, I hear the sound I don’t like hearing; I see things turning blue and the message all up in my face that I’m being interdicted and now my whole focus is on locating the Escape Vector indicator and sparing a glance to see the type of ship trying to shut me down and still chasing the Escape Vector all over the damned place.
I take a look and, oh, fuck me: The ship trying to interdict me is an Anaconda and I know that there aren’t too many ships that are more badass than an Anaconda. I know that if I get interdicted, that ship is going to chew me up and spit me out with ease so it’s in my best interest to not get interdicted. I’m ducking and dodging and chasing the EV and the NPC in the Anaconda is sending me all kinds of threatening messages and demanding that I just give up and maybe because it’s an Anaconda and likely equipped with a very powerful interdictor, it’s taking me a long time to escape the attempt… but it’s either stick with it or give up and get caught… and probably destroyed before I can being to fight back, not that my weapons would be able to do the Anaconda any damage.
As I’m trying to get away, I’m also thinking about how much fun this is. I know the specifications for an Anaconda since it’s the next ship I’ve been grinding to be able to buy – about 150 million credits. What I don’t know and because (1) I’m playing in Solo mode and (2) this is an NPC, is whether or not its really outfitted to do maximum damage and in a hurry. I’m thinking that it is possible that I have better weapons than the Anaconda chasing me does but, as I continue to chase the EV, yeah, I’m not really of a mind to find out. The interdiction is now into its second minute and it feels like I’ve been doing this for much longer than that. I have one eye on the EV and the other on my scope; I’m looking to see where the Anaconda is and also looking for the pretty green icon that represents the Federation Security Service or the local security service that, if present, will attack the Anaconda and give me a chance to escape…
But it’s just me and the Anaconda. I’m aware of how my thumbs are working the controller’s joysticks and that I’m not really paying attention to what my thumbs are doing – that is just so cool! I finally get the EV lined up and in an area that will either end the interdiction… or get me interdicted – and hear the sound – and see the message – that the interdicted has been evaded. Yes! I quickly realign myself with the next jump point, activate my FSD drive and, four seconds later, I’m in the wind… but I know I’m not safe because of something that can happen in the game:
The Anaconda can follow my FSD wake and that means that the moment I arrive where I jumped to, that fucking asshole will be right behind me. I arrive and quickly do a few things: Scan the local area; open the navigation panel to locate my destination and lock it in (or make sure it’s locked in – sometimes, it isn’t); get the fuck away from the star and in the direction I need to go in; searching the scope for any signs that the Anaconda did follow my FSD wake. Power up to get out of the star’s area and gravity; for this run, hit the nav panel to activate supercruise and to orbit the planet I’m headed to and activate my FSD. So far so good – I’m on my way but I still have my eyes glued to the scope and switching between whatever contacts are in the area. No Anaconda but just when I think I can relax just a bit, I see the Anaconda appear on my scope – marked in red – and, yep, it’s interdiction time.
Son of a bitch! The NPC sends me a message: “You thought you had gotten away, didn’t you – I have you now!” Like hell you do, bitch! I’m still in Combat mode and still have all available power routed to my engines and the chase for the EV is on again… but this time, I see the green icons for the FSS and there’s three of them headed my way and as I have one eye on the EV, I see the green icons converge on the red icon of the Anaconda – and the interdiction ends. I breathe a sigh of relieft, reestablish my lock on the destination and, a minute later, I’m orbiting the planet and waiting for the moment to deorbit and reach my destination… but keeping in mind that I’m still not safe because I’ve been in orbit around a planet and have gotten jumped. But I make a perfect approach to the planetary base and land. I refuel, do some minor repairs, complete the job and get paid a million-plus credits. Ka-ching! I’m looking through the available missions and find one paying a half-million credits but when checking the destination, I know it’s paying that much because once I get there, it’s going to take almost a half hour in real time to get there.
Course plotted and laid in. I launch and begin the rather slow process of getting out of the planet’s gravity well and clearing the base’s no-fire zone. Make it out of there, hit supercruise to gain altitude and once away from the planet, line up with the destination icon, activate my FSD and I’m off and running and happy that where I’m going is only one jump from where I was. I pop out of hyperspace at the star – that just never gets old and you’d have to see it to understand why it doesn’t – and I’m getting lined up but I get a system message about an incoming enemy alert. I clear the message while checking the scope and there’s no other ship in that space other than mine; sometimes, the game just fucks with you and gets you keyed up for an attack and it never appears… and I’ve learned not to trust the game at all.
I get lined up, do a bit of fuel scooping, but before I can clear the star and activate supercruise to the destination… interdiction! I’m still in Combat mode and with all power to the engines; I do the thing to lock onto the red icon I can now see… and it’s not only an Anaconda… it’s the same fucking Anaconda that had been trying to get me! Where the fuck did he come from and how did he get away from the FSS? I’m not all that worried about the Anaconda as I am being so close to the star itself; I know that if I get too close, my proximity to the star will either shut my ship down or destroy me and I’m a bit worried about that because the EV is running all over the surface of the star and I very much need it to point to open space if I’m going to survive this. As I’m evading like crazy, I have a moment to think about grinding in the CG and how boring and monotonous it was… and now I’m missing that boredom and monotony something fierce.
And it is very exciting. I note that help is on the way but I can’t count on that seeing as how that asshole in the Anaconda got away from them before but I’m really very cool and calm as I defeat the interdiction and supercruise to my destination and arrive in one piece. Once there and I complete the job and collect my half million credits, I’m really kinda mentally worn out from battling interdiction and by the same damned ship so I get out of the game and opt to watch TV until it’s time to go to bed.
And I can’t wait to see what the game will have in store for me today!