Over the last few months, since the UK has been in lockdown I’ve played a lot of Elite Dangerous. By its own timer, I’ve clocked around 170 hours flying about it’s 1-1 scale recreation of our galaxy and it’s been an incredible experience. Most of this has been flying with my friend Ryan, and in a period where I’ve left the house maybe ten times in as many weeks it’s presented me with a nice social outlet.
It helps that the game contains multiple ways to play, which means that almost regardless of what I’m in the mood for it can provide something. Mining gives me something to do whilst watching TV, exploration satisfies at least some of my wanderlust, combat is exciting whilst outfitting is an excellent puzzle of balancing a ship for a given role.
And oh, the ships. I love many of them, and I’ve collected my own little stable of ships. And I enjoy painting them in absurd colour schemes. In between my own work, I’ve been preparing some 3D prints of several of the ships I’ve collected in game and I plan on painting them up for display when time allows, and maybe then I’ll regret some of my colour scheme choices.
There’s also the fun of naming my ships. All my ships borrow their names from Iain M. Banks Culture novels. The Lapsed Pacifist, the Cargo Cult, the I’ve Got a Big Stick. It’s gotten a chuckle from several other players and one of the best parts of getting a new ship is picking a suitable name for it. As long as I don’t end up using any of the assorted Something Something Gravitas names I think I’m fine.
Ultimately, one of the things I enjoy most about it is that is presents me with a series of entirely optional goals that are designed to be easily achievable. In “this current period”, where so many plans and life events have moved beyond of the metaphorical event horizon of the unknown future, a steady source of consistent, achievable goals is a precious thing.
Even if most of those goals involve murder.