So you wanna be a trader eh? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Trading right is a matter of finding the right trade route and kitting out an appropriate ship. The world of Elite offers two types of trade goods, regular and rares. Regular trade goods you’ll find at any station, it’s just a matter of figuring out what to buy and where to sell it (a pen and paper comes in real handy here). You can do the hard work yourself, popping into a few nearby stations and noting down the cost of the goods. You could of course take the easy route and head over to elitetradingtool.co.uk and have someone else do the hard work for you. But better still, switch to pg.24 of this magazine where we’ve printed out an entire rare goods trade route for you. Rare trade goods are just that, rare items. They’re only found at specific stations and you’ll need to sell those goods at least 130 light-years from their origin if you intend to make a profit (and quite a hefty one too). This will take time, but the rewards are definitely worth it.
Quick tip, kit your ship out with the largest cargo bays that you can find and no matter how sorely tempted you are, don’t swap out your shields for more cargo space, it’s not worth the risk. Also, be sure to upgrade your frame-shift drive and carry a heat-sink launcher and missile-batteries for defensive action. Pirates can and will try to steal your cargo and while missiles may be expensive, you’ll rarely ever use them and you’ll have the firepower to wipe out any pirate who dallies in front of your gun. The heat-sink launcher is for those skilled pirates that you just can’t evade. Just close your radiators, turn off life-support, pop a couple of heat sinks and you’ll drop off that would-be pirate’s radar.
We’d recommend upgrading to the Cobra Mk.III as soon as you can. It’s got a decent cargo capacity and great jump range. Perfect for those rare goods runs.
If it’s combat you seek, the path of the bounty hunter is by far the best option. There is some essential equipment that you’ll need, and also the right ship. The Viper is a good choice if you’re going for smaller targets, but you’ll want to upgrade to an Asp if you’re going to be regularly engaging Pythons and Anacondas (the most heavily armed and armoured ships in the game). Be sure to carry a Kill-Warrant scanner (to scan ships for bounties), a Frame-Shift Drive Interdictor and Frame-Shift Wake Scanner (for chasing down those runners). A shield-cell bank will come in real handy if you’re facing off against a tough opponent and an upgraded power plant and distributor will go a long way in ensuring your effectiveness in combat. Haunt Resource Extraction Sites for the best bounties. Scan first, shoot later.
If you want to spend some time exploring the farthest corners of the Milky Way, then you might as well make money doing it. An explorer’s profession is a lonely one, a career spent hundreds of light-years from any sort of life. A ship with a good jump range is a must here and don’t forget to carry a large fuel scoop, you wouldn’t want to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere now would you? Kitting out your ship with the best Discovery and Surface scanner is a no-brainer, but remember to make room for a Heat-Sink Launcher as well. You never know when you might get caught in the gravity well of a star and it’ll be a shame if your precious ship got roasted by a red giant before you could spool up your FSD.
The most interesting profession to be sure. A pirate’s life is a fun one, but a murderer’s life is much harder. The golden rule of pirating is, “Don’t kill anyone unless you really have to.” Assaulting another ship nets you a bounty for sure, but killing it will net you a bounty that’s 10 times greater, making you a prime target for all bounty hunters around. How do you pirate? First, get a ship with a decent cargo capacity, like a Cobra or an Asp, then get yourself a cargo scanner and a frame-shift drive interdictor. The former will let you scan your prey before you pounce and the latter will drag your prey out of super-cruise, allowing you to pounce. After that, you simply demand cargo or blast the ship into submission (just short of destroying it), most players will just drop cargo rather than risk being destroyed. Remember that any stolen cargo can only be sold only at black markets and that stations and “System Authority Vessels”, not to mention bounty hunters, will engage you on sight. A pirate’s life requires great skill, but isn’t that part of the challenge?
We’ll be completely honest when we say that the job of a miner is a really boring one. You equip your ship with a mining laser and refinery (the larger the better) and find some asteroids to zap. Resource Extraction Sites (RES) are the obvious choices, but be wary of pirates. If you’re just starting out, avoid RES altogether. Just find a planetary ring or any asteroid belt and drop out of super-cruise. Zap rocks, refine ore, that’s your mantra. Pick a metal-rich ring (check your System Map for details) and you’ll make more money. Also, if you pick a spot with a nearby station, it’ll save you some travel time.