The Joy of Discovery: The Maiden Voyage of an Elite Dangerous Newcomer
Updated: May 10
Do you remember when you were a child and the world seemed to be larger than it was? That feeling of excitement every time you went on a road trip with your parents and stared in awe out the window, looking for anything that might catch your eye? That's the same feeling that I got the first time I opened Elite Dangerous. At first it was a little too much to comprehend the immensity that this game presents to you when it drops you on your first Sidewinder in the middle of a station. I went through the menus and opened up the Galaxy Map. Taking in the fact that, indeed, there's more than 400 billion star systems out there and you are free to visit them if you want.
So I set my first goal. This goal was to get one of the three largest ships in the game, the Anaconda, and tune it for long range travel; and with this goal in mind I took off with my Sidewinder now named "Jokey Runner", a line of names that would become tradition, into what would be my first bounty hunting run.
The first "Jokey Runner". It will always have a place in my hangar and heart.
After a while I got enough credits to buy me a medium sized ship, a Cobra Mk.III which I named "Jokey Runner II". This ship would prove to be one of the most important ones on my fleet as it allowed me to go do another activity that Elite offers: mining. With the addition of deep core mining, I prepared myself to go and hunt the mother lodes full of Void Opals, the most lucrative material to grind for if you want to accumulate money quickly.
This Cobra MK.III felt like the perfect upgrade from the Sidewinder, still love it to this day.
A month passed and I had accumulated a little fortune, one that allowed me to buy "Jokey Runner III", a Krait Mk.II which I fit for mining as well. This Krait served me well and it is my favorite ship so far, allowing me to mine an absurd amount of Void Opals that quickly allowed me to reach the first part of my goal.
My first deep core detonation on a Void Opal asteroid in my preferred mining spot while aboard this ship.
And so "Jokey Runner IV" joined the fleet, my very first Anaconda. This big bucket of bolts is truly impressive, the sheer size of it makes you feel powerful just by being on it, but this wasn't it, I am still missing the jump range tune for it, this massive ship is still incomplete.
I grabbed "Jokey Runner III" and headed towards a Guardian site, one that allowed me to easily unlock the Guardian FSD booster, a device that adds 10 light years to my jump range at no significant cost. With this FSD Booster I went to Felicity Farseer, the engineer that would help me get my Anaconda into the jump range that I desired.
I felt accomplished when I pressed the button to buy this beauty, no regrets.
All was set to go now for the journey that I wanted to do ever since I couldn't participate in Distant Worlds 2 due to time constraints I had in my life. I departed from my home station, Readdy Gateway on Wolf 424, with my route set towards Sagittarius A. At first the journey felt slow but once the rhythm was established, it felt almost natural.
Once I was about halfway through the journey, I noticed that the stars were starting to get more and more visible, and their concentration increased with every light year. There was one time that the concentration of stars got so high that I just stopped and stood there with my engines off, orbiting a gas giant. I was awestruck at the beauty of the scene that was unfolding right before my eyes.
Much of my time was spent looking for the one needle in the galactic-sized haystack, those nuggets of gold deserving to be captured for posterity. I did this by exploring almost every system I jumped into through the scope of my FSS (Full Spectrum System) scanner, a tool that allowed me to quickly detect all objects orbiting a star and discern what type of object they were, ranging from asteroid clusters to gas giants and everything in between.
This tool was certainly an amazing feature added to the game, I don't even do exploration without it now.
It took me around 400+ jumps and some time, but it was all worth it the moment I came out of the Witch Space and saw that distortion, the same distortion that a black hole produces when it bends light due to its immense gravitational pull. The destination was worth it, but what was even better was the journey and the things I saw along the way.
I discovered many things during my journey: Earth-like planets that could be of use in the future of our species, gas giants that dwarfed Jupiter in size, ringed worlds that caught my eye for minutes on end, I even got to see a couple of ringed stars; this list could go on for a couple of paragraphs, but I prefer to let the pictures I took do the talking for me.
My journey came to an end the moment I landed and finally repaired my ship on the newly constructed "Explorer's Anchorage", a station right at the center of the galaxy that was built thanks to the effort that many players put into it during the Distant Worlds 2 expedition.
If there is one conclusion that I can take from the journey that I took is that Elite Dangerous made me feel like that child again. That innocent child that looked upon the stars with wonder, that same child that couldn't take his eyes out the window during those late night rides. It made me feel that joy of discovery once again.
About the Author Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000's leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities but only started being active around the mid 2010's. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as a writer and content manager ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034