May 27, 2016

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A Quick Word About Engineers in Elite Dangerous Horizons

I haven’t played Elite Dangerous: Horizons (which I can now abbreviate to EDH, thank gawd) in quite some time. Last I left off I had been ferrying goods around trade routes using Inara.cz and EDDB to find the best, most profitable, preferably shortest trade routes I could find. I managed to upgrade my main ship to a Lakon Type-6, which is a pure hauling vessel, in order to make my trade runs more lucrative. But like most everything, I got tired of doing that, wasn’t interested in rat hunting, and I simply found other things to do that weren’t EDH.

The latest Horizons update “The Engineers” was released this week, and it brings a bunch of upgrades to the game in the form of…upgrades. Engineers are specialists that you unlock, and if you get in their good graces (faction grinding) you can have them craft you special gear and boosts. You still have to provide them with the raw materials, but what  you get from them are things that you can’t get on the open market. I had two Engineers unlocked for reasons, maybe as a gimmie to get things started, but one wants “meta-alloy” and the other wants kill vouchers. Meta-alloys are found by blasting the mysterious “barnacles” that people have been finding here and there — with “here and there” meaning “in the hinterlands of the galaxy and not anywhere near me” — so that one might be a while to complete. The kill vouchers…well, let’s just say I’ll be scoring some meta-alloy wUay before I get to that one.

More importantly, though, is that several UI elements have gotten an upgrade. There’s the new Engineers UI, of course, but the mission board has gotten a face-lift which makes things way more informative. Now you not only get a portrait of the NPC you’re dealing with (nice touch), but you get a very specific rundown of what you need to do, what you’ll get in return, and how it will affect your faction with the major and minor groups offering the job. There’s several other UI improvements to the cargo screen, the outfitter window, and more.

It looks like Frontier is trying to put more “life” into the game, which I approve of. A nice touch that they’ve added: control tower voices for various stations. I was docking at a planet base and was talked in by a traffic controller zinging out official sounding instructions for landing at their port. Considering all we ever used to have was the voice of your on-board computer, this is a very welcome addition.

And bookmarks. We can bookmark important systems now. It’s been a while since I’ve played, mind you.

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