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Review in Progress #3 - Frame Shift

Jonathan Doyle Posted:
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It’s a big galaxy. 400 billion stars big. There’s room enough to make your fortunes, room enough to find your fights and room enough to see things most people won’t pass by if you really work at it.

In a galaxy like that, what you make of it is up to you. You… and others. It might be the little action of a few players bringing in the goods or it might be the larger actions of empires.

The Big Three

Heading up the galactic political stage we have The Federation, The Empire and The Alliance.

A quick and dirty guide would probably break down strangely. The Federation with its seat in our place in the stars, governed from Sol sounds good but with the corporate themes comes across more like the United Federation of the NASDAQ. The Empire with its fancy architecture, gorgeous ships and ranks smacks to me of Imperialist China or Rome IN SPACE! Finally there’s the Alliance, the ooey gooey fondue pot of everyone in the middle of the big two.

These three galactic empires set the stage we play in. So naturally it’s in your best interests to get in with them. If you want that utterly gorgeous Imperial Clipper you need to be ranked Baron or higher with the Empire. If you want the steady workhorse that is the Federal Dropship, you need to get up to Ensign with the Federation. There are systems that are locked out of your jump computer until you do the necessary leg work for the appropriate powers that be to gain a permit.

Kickstarter backers have the Sol permit, but if any new players want to orbit our fair Earth, they’ll need to haunt the station bulletin boards nearby and find the work necessary to get in good with the senate.

With this all in mind and with the big options really coming across as Corporate Greed or Corrupting Power, I decided as you may have gathered from the last instalment, to try and work my way into the Alliances good graces.

Alioth Or Bust

There’s only one system in Alliance space at the moment that requires a permit and that’s to Alioth itself. Birthplace of The Independent Alliance Of Systems.

Glorious shining Alioth…. I assume. I’m still working on it. Partly my own fault, partly due to the systems shifting around me.

Let’s get the embarrassing part out of the way. I have had my ship destroyed three times in Elite. All those hours of gameplay and I can name my three killers. Vasilev Station, Romiger Dock and Bloch Station. I shot one of them (by accident!). I shot at someone inside one of them (Intentionally… and stupidly) and the last I just flew into at a stupidly high speed…. From the inside.

Suffice to say that the setbacks in gaining faction with the Alioth Independants have mostly been mine… Mostly.

The other complications come from the fact that thanks to the galaxy being online, it isn’t static. I watched as I puttered around doing trade runs, people taking active part in changing the standing of 78 Ursae Majoris. They shifted the power out of the Alliance and into the Federation. The system changed hands while I worried about making my trade runs. I took combat missions, bigger risk, bigger reward. With them I was faced with NPCs that well… had a vested interest in not dying and sometimes could make counter offers. Greed, or misclicks, will have an impact on your standing. Rightly so.

Daily News

Watching the systems in a little stellar neighbourhood shift so quickly, but due to genuine effort… was gratifying. Yes it’s made my job harder, but no harder than I made it myself through being an idiot. Yes it’s meant that getting into Alioth may simply result in me coming back out of it with all lasers firing to try and change the neighbourhood the way I see fit.

Keeping things fresh by having these cumulative effects from all of those trades, all of those innocuous bulletin board jobs and all of those battles amongst the stars is a wonderful thing. It may enrage some and it may annoy some. After all you might go to work with friends on clearing out that pirate influence nearby only to find that someone has been working against the other territories you’ve decided to throw your lot in with. You might help me win back 78 Ursae Majoris only for us to miss out on the bigger picture.

You bet there’s a bigger picture. It’s on GalNet every day.

Dock at any station and on the right hand side of the station services you’ll have those one a day GalNet stories. Feel like checking them out on your computer? Pop over to the official site.

I chose to help out the Alliance because of other friends playing Elite: Dangerous. I should have been and now am keeping an eye on the bigger picture. After all there’s plotting afoot. Yes the stories are little and read like the political section of your chosen broadsheet newspaper, but they point the way to plot in the galaxy.

If the Federation rattles its sabre over a system on GalNet, you can be assured that there’s players heading that way. Maybe the rattling is even over what players were doing already. If “an experiment” as Reddit put it can change the standing of an Alliance system, who is to say what is out of reach for pilots who identify with an empire…

Ultimately these news pointers are simply that. A pointer towards a hot system or an upcoming news story. Maybe like me you’ll suddenly find it hard to work up your pilot reputation in an area and not because space stations are your natural predator…apparently. That Imperial Clipper that you were so close to, that you worked hard for and earned (legally or not..) the credits for could have been just in reach. Then war spilled over. Factions lost standing. Civil war raged in the system and systems nearby.

With each little mission I run, I help everyone change the playing space. With those little cargos I’ve been worrying about, I might just be adding pebbles to a mountain but it’s all about the frame shift. The sudden change. The one pebble from a player or a plot that brings on the avalanche.

That’s exciting.


Jonathan Doyle

Born and bred Science Fiction and Fantasy fan. Head in the clouds is for amateurs when there is space instead. Look for the tall guy with a beard.