Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Byte: One does not simply fly into Morgor!

There's been quite a lot of chatter on the Elite: Dangerous beta forums about the elusive Pirate Lord, who is the target of one of the assassination missions that you can get from the Bulletin Board system introduced in Beta 1. I've not heard of anyone actually finding and killing him/her/it yet, so I took the mission and went hunting. Some of the speculation was that you would find the Pirate Lord in the system where you take the mission, but after searching high and low for an hour in Eranin (where I took on the mission), I'd cleared out a dozen USS's (Unidentified Signal Sources) with no success. At this early stage in the beta, the mission descriptions aren't quite complete, as they give no hints as to where the target may be found (which was not the case in Frontier and First Encounters). Presumably this will be remedied for the full release, but for the moment, the devs have left things decidedly vague, other than the hint that the Pirate Lord is "much more likely to be found in some systems rather than others", from which I took to mean anarchy systems. First I checked in on LP 98-132, as that's the anarchy closest to Eranin, but again, despite searching the system high and low, I didn't have any luck, as given the title of "Pirate Lord", I would assume that they're flying something really big and armed to the teeth, such as an Anaconda or a Lakon Type 9 Heavy, and the biggest pirate I found was only flying a Cobra Mark III.

I then moved on to the now infamous Morgor and rather proved the running joke that one does not simply fly into Morgor. Immediately after jumping into the system, I started looking for USS's and found one right at the entrance to the system. I dropped out of supercruise to find a lovely stash of nearly a dozen canisters of gold. Lovely, thinks I, cracking out the cargo scoop. Alas, I should have known better.

Thank you, Admiral, I know that NOW... Three, yes, three, pirate Cobra Mark IIIs jump in to ambush me after I've fallen for the bait. Suddenly flying into Morgor does not seem like such a good idea. Now, by this point I've got over 80 kills to my name and I'm getting fairly adept at the combat, but facing off against three Cobras is too much. I manage to get two of them, but I'm destroyed by the third before I've even had chance to lay too much damage on him. The destruction of my ship causes me to fail the assassination mission, but this doesn't deter me from going back to Morgor for some sightseeing. By my logic, any self-respecting Pirate Lord is going to hang out somewhere remote in an anarchist system, and it doesn't come much more remote in Beta 1 than Morgor 2. It's a horrifically large distance from the system primary (over 10,000 light seconds, if I'm remembering correctly), so takes quite a while to get there in supercruise mode. As I expected, I encountered a USS and went in to intercept.

I found Taffy here, a fugitive pirate in a very well tooled-up Lakon Type 9 Heavy. I thought "I can take that", given that I'm now a relatively decent combat pilot and my Cobra Mark III is kitted out with the best gimballed weapons money can buy (two Class 3 multicannons and two Class 1 burst lasers). Unfortunately, as soon as I spring my own trap, I'm counter-ambushed by three Eagle Mark IIs the Lakon has lying in wait to support. Is this the fabled Pirate Lord?

I think it's a pretty good candidate, though without having retaken the mission from the bulletin board before entering the system, it's hard to be sure. In any case, I would have failed the mission anyway, as I got my tactics wrong in the ensuing battle. Rather than taking down the supporting Eagles, I concentrated on the Lakon instead. In retrospect, I think this was a mistake. My multicannons could take down the Eagles much faster than the Lakon and my Cobra was able to evade fire from the Lakon relatively easily, so I should have boiled the support craft first. Well, you die and learn, I suppose... I did manage to destroy the Type 9, which is useful to remember next time I try to take one on, but I have to be a little smarter about prioritising targets in future. Get the easy, quick kills first.

After that, I continued sightseeing around the bits of the Beta bubble that I'd not visited yet. I made a special effort to check in on LHS 3262, as it's one of the only places that you can buy an Anaconda and I wanted to see just how bad the damage would be to my credit balance.

SIX POINT SEVEN MILLION CREDITS? Holy moly, that's going to take some work. I guess it's back to the Type 6 Transporter for me...
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