This update blends the lore with the gameplay, allowing players to sign on with a “galactic personality”. Each of the ten scions has their own dossier which lists three key points of their philosophy, and how those points translate into the kinds of missions you can expect to be asked to perform for that faction. Of course, they tend to fall in line with the three main paths of combat, trading, and exploration, but are broken down further into elements such as piracy, diplomacy, and police work. Who you choose also has an effect on how you’re treated in other territories, so signing on with a faction isn’t something to decide lightly. I still haven’t decided who I’ll join, or if I’ll join.
I did get in on my first community goal last night, however. Community goals are game-wide missions that usually require a massive amount of resources to complete, and the rewards that one earns are based on one’s contribution. The CG I chose was to bring exploration data to the Independents, so I started at Sol (where I was when I logged in) and headed down to the system where the CG was being offered, scanning as much as I could as I went. By the time I arrived at the Independent’s station, I had scanned enough to earn 71k credits and was in the top 70% for the CG overall with three weeks left to go until the scenario wraps up. I pointed my ship outwards from the Independent’s holdings on the map and plan on seeing what I can scan for the next week and a half before I have to find a route back in time to sell what I find before the event ends.
One of the criticisms people have levied against Elite: Dangerous is that it’s boring. My wife watched me flying between stations once and asked me what the hell was so interesting about what I was doing. What I was doing at that exact moment wasn’t all the exciting, I admit. It’s kind of the same thing that EVE Online has to deal with: long periods of tedium punctuated by action and/or decision making that will put you on a specific course. This is the curse of the “sandbox game”: you almost have to expect that the game is going to look boring as hell to an observer, and you need to be up to the challenge of finding personal goals to work towards that make the boring parts worthwhile.