I just realised the title of this thread can read "The tragically nerdy elite", then a colon, then "Dangerous thread". Bugger it, I'm leaving it as is.
I backed E:D in the original Kickstarter and never got around to downloading it. Finally, while procrastinating extra hard last weekend, I dug up the links and grabbed it.
I don't recall if I have ever 180ed on a game so hard and so rapidly before. First few hours, it all seemed so aimless. Why was I out there? What was the point? I kept waiting for some kind of story missions to pop up and give me some incentives, but no, it just left me to my own devices and I was feeling a serious lack of grippedness.
It was about three or four hours in that something organically just clicked into place. I started getting into the groove of what I was in the mood for: hunting pirate bounties, doing some chilled delivery runs, risking a high paying smuggling job, or just striking out in a random direction and seeing what I could find.
It was probably around the eight or ten hour mark that I bought my Cobra Mk III and the entire game opened up for me. This is a ship with a decent sized cargo hold, solid hull for surviving a scrap while also nimble enough to have a chance at winning, and good enough FSD range to really start exploring the fringes of known space.
I am now a hopeless addict. I've probably sunk thirty hours into it this week, and I'm still in the trusty Cobra, though it is now massively upgraded. I've taken down competent pilots in Anacondas with this thing.
The biggest surprise for me has been exploration. I am amazed by just how rewarding and wonderful it is. I still haven't been the first to find a system, but it's still a great feeling to explore a bizarre system that probably hasn't seen in a human player in weeks or months.
Some of them are fucking WEIRD. I found one system with no planets, just smaller stars orbiting a big star like hot planets. I found another that looked perfectly normal, until I got to the outer planets and found that one of them was a brown dwarf star with its own little planetary system of worlds that were actually warmer than planets much closer in to the main star. Another one had two Saturn-like planets of similar mass locked in a binary orbit around each other. Each of them had half a dozen moons, but the gravitational forces were so fucking weird that some of the moons had freakishly eccentric orbits, with one of them at a right angle to the others.
I had a heartbreaking moment last night when I was tasked by the navy to go take out a rogue pilot who had murdered his wingmates. The fucker targeted my canopy. I took him out in the end, but my canopy exploded outward, leaving me to try to race back to the nearest station surviving on the five minutes of oxygen in my flight suit. I ran out of air and auto-ejected only a few thousand kilometres from the station.
Here's the worst bit: on top of the hefty insurance payout to get my ship back, I lost two days' worth of planetary survey data I was saving until I was 100+ light years away (at the time about 200k worth, but would have been more if I'd travelled further before cashing it in), and I lost all my unclaimed pirate bounties (around 150k worth). I've been using a kill warrant scanner, so I had massive bounties waiting for me in areas I'd never visited, including 120k in the Empire alone. All gone with my ship. Fucking damn it.
On the other hand, what a fucking story. It was an amazingly tense and dramatic sequence of emergent narrative, and while it would have made a better story if I'd just made it back alive, it's still a memorable one with me losing my ship only minutes from safety. (Incidentally, I've invested in a much better life support system now - won't happen again!)
Anyway, if you're playing on PC and want to hook up in multiplayer, friend me: Black Marisse. (It's an old RPG character name I like to use for female antiheroes.)