Elite Dangerous: Horizons is among the best multiplayer space flight games for Windows and consoles. It’s a massive game set in the Milky Way galaxy, which also has a bit of a learning curve. So, Elite Dangerous can be a bit daunting for new players. Its introductory tutorial for basic navigation and combat merely scratches the service. Here are some Elite Dangerous: Horizons beginner tips for getting started in the Milky Way.
1. Don’t Leave the Pilots’ Federation District too Soon
After the introductory tutorial, many players will fly to Mawson Dock, Dromi in the Pilots’ Federation District to complete a first mission. The Pilots’ Federation District is a collection of 10 star systems for new players to get started at in Elite Dangerous. There you can complete more basic missions to get started in the game.
Some players might not realize they’ll lose their Pilots’ Federation District permits when they dock at stations outside the PFD. You’ll receive a message from the PFD that tells you that, but players who don’t check their messages will miss it. Remember that you can’t fly back into PFD star systems when you dock at a station outside of the Pilots’ Federation District. It’s a good idea for new players to complete a few missions within the PFD before venturing out into the wider universe. So, don’t fly to a dock outside the PFD if you want to stick around in the Pilots’ Federation District.
2. Stick to more straightforward (non-combat) missions
It’s better to stick to more straightforward missions that are easier to complete when you start playing Elite Dangerous. Trader data courier transport missions are among the most straightforward in the game for which you need to deliver data to another docking station. All you need to do for those missions is fly from one station and dock at another in a different star system, which is something covered within the game’s introductory tutorial. So, data transport missions are good ones to get started with interstellar flights between stations.
Cargo transport missions are similar to data courier ones, except that you also have to load and unload cargo at docking stations. Therefore, you might need to expand your ship’s cargo storage with an Outfitting service for some missions. You might also get intercepted and attacked by a dirty space pilot when transporting cargo. However, aside from that, a cargo mission is almost as straightforward as a data courier one. So, have a go at a few cargo transport missions before attempting tougher assignments.
Both cargo and data transport missions will enhance your Trader rank. I don’t recommend rookie pilots attempt riskier combat missions. Losing ships on combat missions will cost you credits. Stick to trading missions to amass credits and get more familiar with ship controls during your first few days in the Elite universe at least.
3. Save some credits for ship insurance
Spaceships come with 95 percent insurance in Elite Dangerous. Whenever you lose a ship, which will usually happen in combat, you can rebuy it at five percent of its original value. For example, you can rebuy a lost ship valued at 500,000 credits for 25,000.
If you can’t afford the insurance cost after losing a ship, however, you’ll have to take out a small loan to rebuy it or deselect modules. Deselected modules aren’t returned with the rest of the ship. Failing that, you’ll lose the ship and have to get a completely new one.
Make sure you always have enough credits to meet your ship’s insurance cost. To check what your ship’s insurance cost is, press the Shift + D hotkey to open its right side panel. The Status tab on that panel displays the ship’s insurance value as a rebuy cost.
4. Upgrade your Frame Shift Drive
Your ship’s jump range is how far it can Hyperspace jump, which is measured in light-years. With a longer jump range, your spaceship can reach more distant star systems in one Hyperspace jump. Thus, extending your ship’s jump range enables you to reach more distant stars with fewer jumps, which ultimately makes it quicker to travel across the galaxy.
Extending your jump range is one of the best ways to upgrade your ship. To do that, you’ll need to invest in better Frame Shift Drives at docking stations’ Outfitting services. Select Core Internal on a station’s Outfitting menu to see if there are any Frame Shift Drives available that will extend your spaceship’s jump range. When you find a Frame Shift Drive that will extend your spaceship’s jump range, snap it up ASAP. Although some FSDs might reduce your ship’s standard speed a bit, its jump range is what really gets you across the galaxy faster.
5. Turn on Night Vision
Night Vision is a handy mode all ships come equipped with that highlights both objects in space and planetary terrain. This tool makes small ships and objects in the distance of dark space much clearer, which can come in handy for spotting hostile spaceships and Nav Beacons. It’s also invaluable for landing your ship at land-based docking stations on the dark side of planets.
To turn on Night Vision, press the Shift + D hotkey to open your ship’s right panel. Select the Ship tab on the right panel. Then turn on the Night Vision mode option on that tab.
6. Become a Space Taxi
When you’ve left the Pilots’ Federation District behind, you’ll no doubt notice the Passenger Lounge section on docking stations’ Support Services menus. That’s where you can accept some passenger missions with a suitably equipped ship that includes cabins. It’s worth investing in some cabins for your ship sooner rather than later, as passenger missions will give you more options and can also be very lucrative.
To find somewhere you can buy passenger cabins, open the galaxy map. Select Map on the galaxy map. Then select the tourism filter to highlight star systems with tourist industries. There you’ll find docking stations with tourist industries where you can purchase passenger cabins for your spaceship. When you’ve added some cabins to your ship, you can start transporting passengers across the galaxy for more credits.
7. Check out Elite & Dangerous Roguey
Alternatively, you can find docking stations that sell equipment you need at the Elite & Dangerous Roguey website. That site provides an invaluable search engine for commodities, equipment, ships, and more besides within the Elite Dangerous universe. It also includes a forum that incorporates an Elite Dangerous discussion board.
To find a docking station that supplies the spaceship gear you need, click the Equipment tab on the Elite & Dangerous website. Select a listed equipment type there, such as Cargo Rack, to open a list for it. Then click one of the Where to buy links for specific equipment to open a search box for it. Enter the star system you’re in within the search box, and select 20 ly in the Within drop-down menu. The search engine will then find all docking stations that sell the equipment you need within 20 light-years of your star system.
8. Complete more missions for minor factions aligned with superpowers
The Empire, Federation, and Alliance are the three major factions (superpowers) in Elite Dangerous, which each have 14 ranks for players to climb. Raising your rank with a major faction in Elite Dangerous will unlock its exclusive ships and restricted star system permits. So, try raising your rank with a major faction for extra bonuses.
To do so, you’ll need to accept missions from minor factions that are aligned with major ones. A minor faction is aligned with a superpower if it includes the major faction’s logo under its title on the mission board, like the one in the shot directly below. When you’ve got your major faction rank up to 100 percent, you’ll be able to complete a promotion mission from an aligned minor factor you have a cordial standing with to rank up.
9. Watch the game’s official video tutorials
There’s a series of official video tutorials for Elite Dangerous: Horizons. Those video tutorials can be enlightening for most players new to Elite Dangerous. You can watch all of them from the Help section of the official game site.
Sticking to those Elite Dangerous: Horizons beginner tips will get you off to a better start in the game. Aside from those tips, check out the game’s Codex Pilot’s Handbook guide, on your ship’s right hub panel, which provides more guidelines. The Elite Dangerous Wiki is also a great resource to check out for further details about the game.