Sunday, 3 January 2016

Making money whilst exploring in Elite Dangerous - Fitting your Ship

For a while, I've heard that people return from exploration trips brimming with profit and riches - and when they sell their exploration data they make millions!

Sadly this wasn't me... initially I was making only a few thousand here and there, and really I blame my new to exploration status (plus the bewildering amount of things you have to keep on track of!). So I did some digging and thought I'd share some tips on making profit whilst exploring.

The simple answer is - I wasn't exploring the right systems fully, and I was often exploring the wrong systems too much (and losing too much time and patience whilst doing it).

So this is what I do now (after the jump) - I won't state this is the greatest guide ever to exploration profit, but this is what I've started doing personally.

Exploration profit is all about being more efficient with your time in suitable systems. And to do this you need to prepare in advance (by outfitting the right kind of ship) and then whilst exploring you need to be brutal with which systems you explore fully vs the ones you leave behind.

(As a sidenote there's some fantastic image-filled guides around about this topic, especially on the official forums where a Cmdr Nutter has put together the excellent Nutter's Guide to the Galaxy. I'd recommend readers to have a look there for more information)

This part of the post covers the essential fittings you need, whilst part two - Making money whilst exploring in Elite Dangerous - Exploring the Galaxy - covers how I actually explore

Prepare in advance - What you need to explore

Your ship in Elite is the most important part of the game - it is a game about spaceships after all. You need to make sure your ship is outfitted correctly to allow efficient exploration.

Critical Item One - Advanced Discovery Scanner

The ADS is easily the most crucial part of an explorer's build. Not only does it honk in a beautiful manner reminiscent of two space whales in heat, but it allows you to find information on stars, planets, moons and other objects in a system without getting too close.

The ADS costs 1.5million, whereas it's lesser cousin the Intermediate costs ~0.5million. So what does the extra million get you?

Simple - one honk with the ADS* and all system bodies are shown to you.  
The Intermediate requires you to get within 1000LS of each body before it will display, and this will take you a lot of time to do in most systems.
The Honk-Scan-Scoop-Shoot method requires an ADS. So just get one

(*This needs to be an advert or something)

Critical Item Two - Detailed Surface Scanner

This little beauty gives you detailed information on a planetary body. This will massively boost your profit as the greedy data buyers will want to snap up the data you've found on each world. But at one massive disadvantage - you need to scan each body individually and within a certain range. So it makes no sense to scan non-valuable planets.

I'll cover which ones to scan later on in this post.

There's only one kind of Surface Scanner (the Detailed kind) and it only costs 250,000 credits so just pick it up and install it.

Critical Item Three - Frameshift Drive

The Frameshift Drive lets you jump around the galaxy (you won't get far without one!), and this is where you need to pick a drive optimal to your ship.

You ideally want to be able to jump long distances, so I'd recommend getting the biggest one you can afford. Right now, I've fitted in The Daggerbite (an Asp Explorer) with a 5B costing 1.7 million, but before I embark on the Distant Worlds expedition I intend to fit a 5A (costing a whopping 5.1 million)

The difference in jump distance -

The rest

The rest of the fitting will likely be ship specific, but I'd always recommend fitting an Planetary Vehicle Hangar and shields at the least. 

Here's my ASP Explorer fit currently to give you some ideas 

Now you're fitted and kitted out, it's time to get exploring. And I'll cover this in my next post: Making money whilst exploring in Elite Dangerous - Exploring the Galaxy

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