January 25, 2006

X3 .. Starting out

I suppose I should start the story at the beginning.
Suffice to say you start with naff all money, a small poorly equipped ship. Your aim really is to do whatever the hell you like, or to go with the storyline missions. The gap between each story mission is as long as you make it .. 'coz you -do- need to prepare for whatever's coming.

So anyway here's me the pauper in the crapheap tooling around sectors looking for an easy profit. Needless to say it took me some time to find anything. There's a distillery in Herron's Nebula which when full sells its stock at around 650/700 but the trading station in the same sector will buy them for 1252 flat rate - the price increases at the distillery / factory though as stock dwindles .. so you need to time it. Well I did time it just right - I spent my measly 5K on whatever I could buy at 737 and then headed off to sell them. On the third run I had enough cash to actually fill the hold on my shoebox and my trade rank improved.. Ah what a moment .. So after an hour or so of peering around I found a nice place to make some cash and the next place I headed to was the trading dock for a nice spree.

Just a short note on ship classes so you don't think WTF ?? There are several - in increasing size - the first 3 are all 'single seaters' if you like .. M5 (scout), M4 (fighter), M3 (heavy fighter), TS (Transport Ship), TP (Transport passengers) M6 (corvette, can carry one scout in its hangar), M2 (destroyer .. huge) and M1 (carrier .. frigging enormous). You start with an M4.

Even with my nice shiny bank balance I had bugger all chance of getting another ship.. not even an M5.. but my ship is now pretty well equipped.. so I headed off to get me a couple of extra ships.
The easiest way is to have the cash, and go to a shipyard.
The most entertaining way is to go scare the crap out of someone so they bail .. then get in theirs.
So off I head to a nice pirate sector to kick some ass. I managed to get 2 M5s and a bit later, an M3.

* an sorry .. MY M3 Falcon letting fly with its 8 front mounted weapons.!
So I sent them off to the shipyard to wait for me to see what their status is - you can either repair the damage you caused in combat or sell the ship. Suffice to say repair ain't cheap. After quite a bit of hassling pirates I got another M5 and was satisfied with my efforts. I went back to see what I could salvage at the shipyard. I wound up with just the additional M3 by the time I'd repaired and equipped it but no hassle I now have 2 ships and a tidy 250K !

I sent it off to buy some energy to replenish the distillery and after about 6 trips it was happily chugging away and I managed to haul another 150K from it. I decide this piracy jig's quite the fun pasttime so off I go to pirate land again to kick some ass.

Welll .. let's see. The only ass I kicked was my own. Most of the pirates were travelling in groups of 3 or so now, sometimes 5 so great care was needed to get in there and survive. Tactically I've found it good to get in close and run for a bit to lead the scouts (if any) away from the main group then try to take one of them out with a full energy bank before the bigger buggers catch up. That worked fine. What really screwed me though was that another type of M3 has a rear mounted cannon with a hemispherical firing angle. Needless to say you often wind up with that thing in your face and usually it was the last thing I saw. Little bastard in question is an M3 Nova.

With a bit of practice and some luck I found running straight at them firing as soon as they're in range I could often take one out before it did too much damage but it took a while to clean up the scout ships.. but they couldn't break my shields without me screwing up so I was pretty safe, once the Nova went down.

In light of that I ventured a little further into pirate territory and was lucky enough to find a lone M4 and capture it reasonably undamaged. Another Buster like you start with. So I set it to follow me and lead it back to the sector gate. The first time I did it I wandered off from the PC and came back to see some pirates enter the gate and clean us up. I'd saved early enough that I could avoid them so that was cool.

Call me a typical nerd but here's another pretty picture of lasers being fired. mmmm ... lasers .. glarrgh. The grid is an 'ecliptic projector' which is very handy when you forget which bloody way is up.

How about we cover getting the buster back to a shipyard tomorrow ? :)

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