7 Common Beginner Mistakes in Elite Dangerous: Horizons

This game guide tells you about some of the most common beginner mistakes in Elite Dangerous: Horizons so you can avoid them. Are you relatively new to the Elite universe? If so, maybe you should check out the beginner mistakes directly below.

7 common beginner mistakes in Elite Dangerous: Horizons

Elite Dangerous: Horizons is a massive space simulation game that’s a little daunting for beginners. Even though that game includes a Pilots’ Federation District for new players, its introductory tutorial only provides a basic overview of ship controls, docking, and combat. Thus, new players who don’t do further tutorials and look through more thorough Elite guides are usually ill-prepared for the game.

Consequently, most beginner players make mistakes during their early pilot days. Heck, even more experienced Elite Dangerous: Horizons players make mistakes, but beginners generally make many more basic (and costly) ones. These are some of the more common beginner mistakes in Elite Dangerous: Horizons.

Read also: 9 Elite Dangerous: Horizons Beginners Tips for Getting Started 

Elite Dangerous: Horizons - Launch Trailer

1. Flying too close to stars

It’s not entirely uncommon even for more experienced players to fly a bit too close to stars. However, that’s much more of a habit for beginner players. New players can wind up flying too close stars after exiting hyperspace jumps that leave big, shining stars slap bang in front of them. Some new players might go too near stars when trying to fly around them so they can supercruise to obstructed planets/stations. Some beginners don’t realize the yellow lines around stars highlight the closest distances they can fly by them without a meltdown.

Of course, the result of flying too near a star is a fried ship! Most new players will probably be flying lightweight ships with little shield or armor and no Heatsink Launcher utilities to boot. Those lightweight spaceships will fry up much more quickly when near stars. In the worst cases, some beginners might not be able to make a quick enough exit to save their ships. At the very least, players will need to repair spaceship damage from meltdowns with a few hundred or thousand credits.

A star that's a bit too close for comfort.

A star that’s a bit too close for comfort.

2. Crashing when attempting planetary landings

When I realized you could land on some planets in Elite Dangerous: Horizons, I attempted my first planetary station landing. Alas, that first attempt ended in disaster as I crashed on the planet’s surface! It was pitch dark, and I couldn’t see the planet’s surface with my ship’s Night Vision off. So, I flew the ship down far too steeply and straight into the surface at a pretty high speed before reaching the station.

As such, not having Night Vision turned on is one way beginners can mess up their first planetary landings. However, beginners often crash their ships during attempted planetary landings because of heavy gravity. Spaceships handle drastically differently when flying at low altitudes over heavy gravity planets, which can catch quite a few players out. So, make sure you check a planet’s gravity details (on its System Map) and have Night Vision turned on before landing on it.

Elite Dangerous: Horizons - Planetary Landing Gameplay Trailer

3. Not saving enough credits for rebuy insurance

When you start playing Elite Dangerous: Horizons, it might be tempting to splash out all, or most of, your starting budget on ship upgrades. However, new players sometimes regret not taking rebuy insurance costs into account. When a ship is lost, full rebuy insurance is available at five percent of its actual value. Yet, beginners who don’t save credits for rebuy purposes can’t afford insurance costs when they lose ships! So, make sure you check what your ship’s rebuy cost is and always have enough credits to cover it.

4. Exiting to the Elite menu screen to ‘pause’ the game

You’re in the middle of an Elite dogfight and decide it’s time to take a tea break before resuming. Exiting to the Elite menu must pause the game, right? Wrong, opening the menu screen doesn’t pause the game. Alas, some beginners mistakenly assume opening the menu screen will pause the game, which can have fatal consequences in space dogfights.

The menu screen that doesn't pause Elite.

The menu screen that doesn’t pause Elite.

5. I’m out of gas!

The Fuel Rats in Elite Dangerous: Horizons have rescued many thousands of players who’ve run out of fuel. Thus, it’s not uncommon for players to run out of gas in space; and running out of fuel is probably a more frequent mistake for beginners. Some overly eager new players pay little attention to their fuel situation when zipping between stars for the first time, or at least have inadequate fuel management plans for longer trips.

In such circumstances, the Fuel Rats might be able to bail you out. However, some players will probably just abandon their ships and pay the rebuy insurance fee. Running out of fuel will be even more costly when you’re carrying precious cargo for trade.

To ensure you don’t ever run out of fuel, make it a habit to refuel your ship at EVERY station you land at. If you’re going to make a longer trip, make sure you plan what star systems you’ll stop to refuel at before starting a journey. The route plotter tool on the Galaxy Map will show you where you’ll run out of fuel on a long trip with a dashed route line. You’ll need to include a refuelling stop at a star system that’s on the solid route line.

The route plotter tool on the Galaxy Map, which shows a refuelling point.

The route plotter tool on the Galaxy Map, which shows a refuelling point.

6. Outstripping a ship’s maximum power threshold

Some beginners make the mistake of upgrading their ships’ components to an extent that deployed modules outstrip the maximum power for their spaceships. When you outstrip a ship’s maximum power supply with too many hardpoints and additional components, its modules get disabled during a flight. A short oxygen depletion timer will then appear, which tells you how much time you have before oxygen runs out. Then you’ll need to manually deactivate some components on the Modules tab to restore its power balance and save your ship.

Make sure your retracted and deployed module power totals full within your spaceship’s max power limit. The Retracted and Deployed bars within your ship’s specs show you total module power consumption and the max power limit of your spaceship. If you want to add more utilities that extend those bars beyond max power, upgrade your spaceship’s power plant first.

The total power consumption bar for a spaceship.

The total power consumption bar for a spaceship.

7. Planning flights with empty cargo loads

Hyperjump range is reduced with full cargo loads. However, some beginners might plan their flights on the Galaxy Map before filling their ships’ cargo racks with commodities. Such players find they can’t jump to the star systems the Galaxy Map definitely said was within their ranges! Instead of jumping, a “Frame Shift Canceled” message appears within their Info panels. Even though stars fall within their unloaded jump ranges, they can’t jump to them with full cargo loads. So, plot your flight routes on the Galaxy Map AFTER loading your ship with commodities.

Make sure you avoid those beginner mistakes in Elite Dangerous: Horizons if you’re relatively new to the game. You’ll probably make fewer beginner mistakes if you read through the game’s official manual here.

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