The Elite Dangerous cockpit HUD, looking out to a burning sun.

The Problem With Returning To Elite Dangerous

Apart from getting hopelessly addicted again.

Elite Dangerous is an incredible and awe-inspiring game.  Heck, it models all 400 billion star systems in the Milky Way galaxy and lets you set off in your own spaceship to create your own story.  What more could you want?

My main problem with Elite Dangerous is I prefer games to have more of a narrative to follow with the sandbox elements to be secondary.  I recognise that this isn’t the case for everyone – Elite has been incredibly successful based off of its space-sandbox nature, so much so that the less intrusive story isn’t even discussed in some circles.  And that’s fine.

I myself have poured 88 hours into Elite Dangerous, so it’s safe to say that I’ve enjoyed my time with it.  I last played it sometime in 2016 but having just got VR (I was using head-tracking before), I decided to dive straight back in.

Now I have a problem.  And, I’m panicking.

See, before I last logged off, I’d invested my measly credits into a Vulture that I’d then upgraded to be pretty decent.  I then set off on a journey to nowhere, decided to call it a day and logged off.  Now I’m floating somewhere between two star systems and, well….can’t remember how to get home.

Oh, and I’m running low on fuel.

So, I’m flying a ship I can’t really afford, suffering from amnesia and struggling to get to grips with the controls and mechanics of the game.  Nightmare.

The problem with returning to Elite Dangerous is trying to remember all of the complexities that go into the game.  In most other games, you jump back in and the gameplay is essentially the same.  In first-person shooters you know you’re basically pointing and shooting, in an MMORPG you know you just avoid the bad guys and stick to the easier places while you remember your skillset.  In Elite, if you don’t remember how to use your Frame Shift Drive, or can’t dock properly, you’re going to explode and lose your ship.

So now I’m stressing, trying to remember how to fly without blowing up the ship that I’ve invested countless hours in earning.  Knowing how ruthless Elite can be, that is a nailbiting experience.

I’m not levelling this as a criticism to the game, nor am I giving up.  I fully intend to do the tutorials over again and possibly watch some YouTube videos to try to figure out how I can get my trusty Vulture back to a dock where I can refuel then continue my adventures as a space bounty-hunter.  If anything, it has reminded me how deep this game truly is and how many different layers there are to the experience that must be learned before the overall experience can be enjoyed.  I’m excited to relearn it all again and head out into the back.

Either that or I’ll blow up into smithereens, end up back in my Sidewinder and never play again.  Wish me luck.