Beginners guideWritten by Roguey, proofread by James Early,
When first starting Elite: Dangerous, it maybe a daunting task - "what should I do? where should I go? how do I make credits?" Well, hopefully in this little guide I can help with that. When first starting out, you have a number of options available - such as trading or fighting although you are some-what limited (1,000cr isnt much). Ideally you want to make credits as fast as you can, so you can get a bigger ship with better equipment.
With that in mind, you could start to look for a trade-route (which is a relatively safe option), OR you could try and make some money through fighting (although the two pulse lasers you start with arent that great) OR you could go off exploring (although this is difficult option to start with). I would suggest looking for a trade-run or taking on missions on the bulletin board (sometimes you can combine the two) as you get used to the game.
Trading can be one of the fastest way to make money, and scales with your ship - the bigger the ship, the more you can make. You can find a trade-route a number of ways; you could manually write down prices then try to work it out, or use a tool to help (which I would suggest). On this site I have written a tool called the Trade-helper, which is designed to find the best trade-runs. However before starting trading you may need to build your money up (so you can buy goods to trade).
The bulletin board offers a way to take on extra jobs. At the start this maybe a good path, allowing to gain a few extra thousand credits here and there. So at the very start I would suggest you look there, avoiding jobs which are too long distances or complex. I would suggest you avoid combat and/or missions requiring to do illegal things - these may end up costing you more in the long run.
At this stage you could also look at mining - taking extra missions for mining certain materials. Personally, I havnt really made a lot from mining; its said to be improved somewhat from launch. But still, as miner will need to be able to deal with some combat; pirates do pry on miners.
Once you have built up some money, then it is probably best to switch to trading. Alternatively, you could try to steal kills from NPC's at Resource Extraction Sites (or RES for short). To do this, let the police agro the pirate, then finish them off when they are low on health. Some of you may want to avoid combat altogether until you're much more happier financial situation. Trading might be more your style. I would'nt really suggest exploration as it takes a bit to learn, and isn't all that great for credits.
Hopefully after a short amount of time you will start to make a few credits. You'll start to wonder what to do next; the choice is either upgrade your current ship or switch to another. The sidewinder is an okay ship, but doesn't really specialize - the hauler is much better trader, whilst the Eagle offers an extra gun. The ship you choose will depend mostly on the path you've chosen (fighting or trading). At this stage you will be install better equipment or change ships, so you will need to know about re-buy cost.
The re-buy is how much your ship and equipment will cost to be re-spawn in case your ship gets destroyed. It is a percentage of your current ships total value, including upgrades to weapons, engines, etc. The re-buy percentage is usually around 5% but early supporters of the game get a discount. The cost can be found on your status panel (usually on tab 4). If you do not have enough money, then the ship and all the equipment could be lost forever. I would suggest never to travelling without enough money to cover your re-buy cost. Re-buy cost will keep increasing as buy bigger ships with more expensive equipment.
So for example; If you have a ship worth 1,000,000 credits (1 million) with a re-buy 5%; your re-buy will be 50,000cr (5% of million). If you install million worth of equipment onto that ship, so its collectively worth 2 million credits (ship + equipment), then your re-buy cost will be 100,000cr (5% of two million). If you don't quite have enough money, you can just buy-back the ship and not the equipment. Although if you don't have enough money for either, then you will have to start with the stock Sidewinder with no upgrades. You will keep your ranks however.
You will need to keep building up the credits, working your work to something like a Viper Mk3 or a Adder. The Viper is combat vessel, whilst the Adder is more suited for trading. If you are making lots of credits at Resource Extraction Sites you may even able to skip this chose two ships, and head straight into a Cobra Mk3;
Your first all-rounder will probably be the Cobra Mk3, priced at 380,000cr. This ship is great for combat, trading, mining, missions - basically any role. At this point you can feel that you can do what you like; but don't get cocky!
Well, hopefully this guide has helped you on your way on becoming Elite;