Galactic Powers

I am currently sitting in Leesti, enjoying breakfast and a nice glass of Azure Milk, wondering what to do next. I still lack a significant amount of money to complete upgrading my Asp – so much, in fact, that I wonder if I should trade it in for a Type-6 transport for some time; trading in the Asp is simply not very profitable. Even though it is much better suited to Rare commodity trading, I feel like I would benefit more from scaling effects in a larger ship.

Still, the Asp is a little bit like home already, and I really don’t want to give it away.

Another option to earn money seems to be to support one of the 10 factions vying for control of Human Space.

Rewards

Looking at the compensation offered, it seems that the remuneration is more or less the same in all cases. However, each faction is selling one piece of advanced technology to their higher-ranked followers:

  • Zachary Hudson (Federation): Pacifier Frag-Cannon (longer range, tighter spread, but less damage)
  • A Lavigny-Duval (Empire): Imperial Hammer (a multi-shot railgun)
  • Felicia Winters (Federation): Pulse Disruptor (A medium pulse weapon that causes enemy modules to malfunction)
  • Zemina Torval (Empire): Mining Lance (Mining laser that does damage to ships)
  • Aisling Duval (Empire): Prismatic Shield Generator (stronger shields)
  • Edmund Mahon (Alliance): Retribution (small beam laser that causes heat damage)
  • Li-Yong Rui (Independent): Pack-hound Rack (medium seeker missiles that fire a salvo of “drunk” missiles)
  • Denton Patreus (Empire): Advanced Accelerator (A specialized plasma weapon)
  • Archon Delaine (Independent): Cytoscrambler (A weapon that is highly effective against shields, but does not damage hulls)
  • Pranav Antal (Independent): Enforcer Cannon (reduced fire rate, improved damage)

None of these items seems very useful for someone who intends to go exploring before long. Out in the big beyond I will not need highly powerful weapons. I won’t be mining either, and that pretty much leaves the Prismatic Shield Generator. Better shields never hurt, and I do want some shields on my ship – I might as well use the best available, right?

Aisling Duval

Besides Aisling Duval sounds like a fairly reasonable person to work for. Perhaps a little too idealistic. Her agenda focuses on social and economic reforms, and she is opposed to slavery. There is a side benefit, in that working for her should help me make contacts within the Empire – and I would like, in the long run, to buy some of their specialized ships.

My mind is made up. I’ll travel to Cubeo and offer to hire out to Aisling Duval. Right after I get done with this trade run – and my breakfast.

Unknown Artefacts – Purring

I’ve become involved in attempts to solve the mystery of the Unknown Artefact. I’ll write more about this later, but currently I have no “in character” story for that involvement, so I’ll just post some minor information for today.

I’ve been concentrating on building up a list of transcripts of the purrs in the audio signal. So far, I collected 18 sequences, of 111 different “bytes”. There are 36 unique bytes.

  • Bytes are usually 5-6 bits, but longer and shorter ones are known
  • No byte so far has a triple or longer sequence of consecutive bits
  • The distribution is clearly not even. See the following graphs:

symbolsSorted by percentage:

symbols-descendingI am still working on the assumption that it’s a substitution cipher, but of course I can’t be sure. It should be something actionable, though – planet names, perhaps.

Meet The ASP Explorer

After a good night’s sleep – never make a purchasing decision when you are too tired to think – I went back to the Alioth Shipyard. I sold all my Cobra’s component, then the Cobra itself. (Shipyards offer a better rate for individual components.)

Then I picked the shiniest Asp they have available. I am now glad that I have access to Alioth; that’s a million Credits saved.

And even so, my funds are very limited. I spent a lot of time to pick and choose the components for the Asp. In the end, I had to make many compromises, but I decided to choose all the modules I want to have in the long run. That way, I can always simply check for upgrades when I have the funds and arrive in a system with a good shipyards.

This is my Asp’s equipment:

  • Standard 32t Fuel Tank
  • Upgraded FSD to 5D.
  • 72t Cargo hold (one 64 and 8 tons modules each)
  • Shield generator: 4D
  • Auto Field Maintenance Unit: 3D
  • Fuel Scoop: 1E
  • Detailed Surface Scanner
  • Basic Discovery Scanner
  • Kill Warrant Scanner E0
  • Weapons: 2x Gimballed Pulse Lasers, 2x Gimballed Multi-Cannons – Same as on my Cobra

The Fuel Scoop would take 30 minutes to refuel my tanks, but I have never used one and including it already lets me practice it. It is also great insurance in case I ever miscalculate and do run out of fuel.

I really wanted a more advanced sensor suite, but I can’t afford it. As it stands, I am left with only 235,536 Credits, which just about covers the insurance re-purchase cost for this ship (231,272 Cr).

Well, I’m off to fill up that bank account again!

Testing the Witchhaul-Arouca Circuit Trade Route

Just as I was deliberating how best to raise the missing money for my Asp, I read an article by Commander Henneo. In it, he describes the Witchhaul-Arouca Circuit, a trade route he has been following, dealing in rare goods. Having had good experiences with the Lave Loop, I decided to give this new trade route a try.

Since Witchhaul is closer to me, I will start the route there. Where possible, I will take faster jumps over more economic ones. This will raise my fuel bill, but reduce the time needed for the circuit. My Cobra, recently re-configured for trade, now carries 44 tons of cargo.

 Witchhaul to Arouca

Arriving on Saunders’s Dive in Wolf 1301, I discovered that a change in government outlawed Wolf’s Flesh. Until this changes again, merchants should skip this stop.

At Hecate, I could only purchase 4 of the offered 13 tons of Hecate Sea Worms. With a similar experience during the Lave Loop, it seems that a 50-60 ton Cargo capacity is really desirable for these long-haul high-value trade runs.

And on Arouca, Tarach Spice is illegal. Adding insult to injury, I could not find a black market to take it off of my hands – it will have to wait until the next stop. Even with the fine, the first leg of the trade route was profitable: I made a profit of 531,028 Credits. It took me 1h50 minutes,

So far, and including the expected profit on the Spice, the route is roughly equivalent to the Lave Loop, which made 721k.

Arouca to Witchhaul

Tarach Spice is also illegal on Any Na, but I was able to slip into Libby Orbital without another fine. Any Na has a black market, which purchased the Spice from me, and I made a profit of 119,350 Credits.

My cargo hold filled up in McCool City, Jaroua, so I headed to Witchhaul directly, where I sold everything off. The second leg took me 1h27 minutes.

 Conclusion

The grand total of the run’s profit is 1.38 million Credits. That’s profit – not revenue. It’s a lot of money. The entire loop took me about 3h 20min.

Witchhaul-Arouca 650378
Arouca-Witchhaul 736544
Total Profit 1386922

Compare this with the Lave Loop, which earned only 720k Credits, but was also a shorter run, at only 2h20min.

time profit Cr/min
Lave Loop 144 721791 5012,44
Witchhaul-Arouca-Circuit 197 1386922 7040,21

The new route is clearly more profitable. That said, it is a much more time-intensive affair – I feel exhausted now that I am back in Witchhaul – and there are some problems with the, uh, legality of some of the goods transported.

It’s still a great money-maker!

Do keep in mind that my test only involves a partial Circuit run due to limited cargo space. However, this was also the case for the Lave Loop, so the comparison should stand. Still, your mileage may vary if you have a bigger ship.

Notes on the Alioth Permit

I actually expected the “reputation grind” for Alioth to take far longer than it did. I didn’t really check the time, but it took me two longish game sessions. Call it 6 hours, but that’s a very rough estimate. I did mess up two missions, and lost cargo once to a nasty pirate interdiction that I barely escaped from with my life, and had to re-purchase goods for those.

I did not make a lot of money running missions, so when you undertake this, you might want to have your 6+ Million ready. In hindsight, it would have been more efficient to just run more trade and pay the full price for an Asp, but I am sure the Alioth Permit will come in handy in some other way.

Besides, it’s all about testing things, so I did not mind this at all.

Access to Alioth

With almost 3 million Credits saved up, I decided it was time to think about a trade-up for my Cobra Mk III. The ship I have my eye on is the Asp Explorer; it seems to be a good all-rounder, similar to the Cobra, but with a slight focus on Exploration – a perfect match for what I want to do.

The Asp costs 6.6 million Credits, but I heard that the Alliance is selling them at a discount in their capital system, Alioth. Of course they do not allow just about everybody in, and so I spent a lot of time picking up contracts from them, making contacts and friends.

As I write this, I just returned from a cargo run from Mizar to 78 Ursae Majoris, transporting copper and urgently needed medical supplies, that I was told that I am to travel to Irkutsk, to receive my Alioth System Permit.

Receiving the Alioth System Permit

I decided to stock up on Liquor for the voyage and left Reading Station.

Update – Irkutsk/Alioth:

I’ve got my Alioth Permit and even made 12000 Credits profit on the booze. Neat. In the spirit of things, though, I decided to donate that money to local charities.

The price for the Asp is 5.33 million Credits. I did not expect to reach Alioth so soon, and even with a trade-in for my Cobra I am 700k short. Plus, I will of course need money to outfit the ASP, as well as an operational budget.

Still, the Asp is within reach!

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