Elite Dangerous

Elite Dangerous

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to Elite: Dangerous
By Awgereen
This guide explains some basic things about the game. This is meant for new players.
Let's it admit it, the tutorial for this game isn't that useful. It doesn't explain anything, and then it throws you into the game against way better players.
It's ridiculous.
This guide will hopefully answer any questions you have on weapons, gameplay basics, roles, and all that stuff.
The UI
If you didn't already know, UI stands for user interface. It's all the cool looking schematics and indicators on your ship.
Althought the Elite: Dangerous UI looks complicated at first, it's not that bad once you actually learn it.

The Front Panel
This is the "main" UI. You'll be looking at this the majority of the time you play the game. It gives you all of your basic information like your speed and fuel levels, and anything that's needed for you to stay alive.
This part is in the center of the screen, along the bottom. Basically, what this section of the UI tells you is how fast you're moving, what your throttle is set to, and where other things are in relation to you.
On the right, it shows you what speed you're currently traveling at (indicate by the number), what your throttle is set to (it's the blue line going across the vertical speed bar), and the zone at which you turn the fastest (the blue area on the left side of the speed bar). The big circle in the middle is telling you where the other ships are on a flat plane in relation to you. The lines/tails under them tell you how above/below you they are. So if there's a square in front of you and has a short line under it, that means that there's a ship/asteroid/celestial body in front of you and is slightly above you.
On the the left, there's another bar. This bar represents your heat. If it goes above 100%, your ship modules start taking damage. If it goes above 150%, your hull starts taking damage. You should avoid both of those. Damage is bad.
This part is on the bottom left of the screen. The text on the left will give you information on where you or what you're locked on to, if you are locked onto something. The floating schematic/hologram will show you how much shield a ship has left and how much damage it's taken IF you're locked onto one and in combat with it, or if you're locked onto a space station it'll show you which way the dock is. Not that much to it really.
Just in case you didn't catch on to the pattern, this part is on the bottom right of the screen. The floating hologram of your ship shows you how much shield you have left (the circles around the ship), how much hull health you have left (the percentage along the bottom), and how your ship is turned/rotated. Basically, if you're turning left, the ship hologram will be turning left. If you're turning up, the ship hologram will be turning up. The bars in the middle that say SYS, ENG, and WEP show you how you're diverting your power. Use the left, up, and right arrow keys respectively to divert more or less power to something. You can also use the down arrow to reset the power distribution. The bar under the word FUEL on the right predictably tells you how much fuel you have left. The checkbox-like thing under that will tell you if you're mass locked, you have your landing gears out, or if you have your cargo scoop out.
This just shows the local chat, WINGS chat, and anything social that isn't communicated via guns and death.
It gives you info about what's going on. Like if you lose or gain contact with somebody or something. Woo.
The Left Panel
Honestly, please tell me you haven't read everything I've typed out this far. If you have, may god be with you. Otherwise, you can access the left panel by pressing SHIFT+A.

The navigation tab is used to see what's in the current system you're in. You can use it to lock on to a station or celestial body. You also can pull up the galaxy/system map from here, and see how many more jumps it'll take to get to your destination.
The transaction tab shows you what missions you currently have, and you can pull up the details of them from here.
The contacts tab shows you what ships/stations/other things are near you, and you can slightly interact with some of them from here.
The sub-targets tab will let you lock onto the subsystems of a ship you're locked onto, and the cargo tab will show you what cargo they're carrying (if you have a cargo scanner)
The Right Panel
The right panel has a bunch of important stuff in it.

The status tab gives you information on the system you're in, such as info on the local government, and how much influence you have on it.
The modules tab allows you to set priority to certain ship systems, and you can turn ship systems on or off.
The fire groups tab lets you assign what hardpoint fire when you click M1 or M2.
The cargo tab shows you your cargo. Not that much to it.
The functions tab lets you adjust your HUD brightness, enable or disable silent mode, and things like that. You also can toggle functions such as the cargo scoop and landing gear.
Space Station UI
You only get this when you're docked at a space station. I'll just list off what each page/tab thing does.
  • Home shows you basic information, like in the picture
  • Munitions lets you buy ammo
  • Repairs lets you repair
  • Bulletin board is where you would accept missions
  • Contacts is where you would pay off any bounties you have
  • Outfitting is where you can outfit your ship
  • Shipyard is where you buy new ships
  • Commodities market lets you buy and sell cargo
  • Universal cartographics lets you sell map data
Yeah, this'll just list all of the default keybindings. Not that much to it.

Default Keybinding
Pitch Up
Just move your mouse up
Pitch Down
Just move your mouse down
Roll Left
Move your mouse to the left
Roll Right
Move your mouse to the right
Increase Throttle
Decrease Throttle
Yaw Left
Yaw Right
Left Thrust
Right Thrust
Up Thrust
Down Thrust
Set Speed to Zero
Toggle Flight Assist
Use boost

Select Target
Cycle Next Target
Select Highest Threat
Cycle Next Subsystem

Combat-ish Things
Deploy Hardpoint Toggle
Deploy Heat Sink
Primary Fire
Left Click
Secondary Fire
Right click
Cycle Next Fire Group

Other Useful Stuff
Increase Radar Range
Page Up
Decrease Radar Range
Page Down
Increase Engines Power
Up Arrow
Increase Weapons Power
Right Arrow
Increase Systems Power
Left Arrow
Reset Power Distribution
Down Arrow
Toggle Cargo Scoop
Home Key
Eject All Cargo
End Key
Toggle Landing Gear
UI Focus
Head Look Toggle
Mouse 3
There are some basic roles in the game that anybody can perform really. The roles are courier, trader, explorer, miner, smuggler, pirate, mercenary, assassin, and bounty hunter. Credit to the Elite: Dangerous wiki for saying most of this. I just basically paraphrased them.

Starport bulletin boards usually offer missions that require you to transport an item that takes up little to no cargo space from point A to point B. Missions that require no cargo space are marked with two horizontal arrows point left and right. Courier missions that require some cargo space are marked with a cargo container and an arrow pointing to the right. Any missions you accept can be completed by traveling to the mission’s destination and using the starport bulletin board there.
Personally, I don’t suggest this role. There’s little to no thinking involved, and you get very little money from it. If you’re really short on cash you could, but otherwise, I’d avoid this.

Low/Not worth it
Time Investment
Pretty small
Suggested Ship
Anything that can move
Suggested Upgrades
Frame Shift Drive Upgrades

Trading is one of the jobs that entails a lot more grinding. It’s not necessarily boring, but it requires being able to withstand the grind.
Trading in this game entails buying goods that are abundant on the Commodities Market in one system and then selling them in another system where there’s a high demand for the goods but a small amount of them. All of the trading is linked to a dynamic economy which changes based on player activity, which results in prices changing and the volume of goods also changing. Another result of the dynamic economy is the colonization of new systems.
If you want to trade, you’ll want to get a ship that can hold a large amount of cargo and is still fast. The main thing you’ll have to worry about is being interdicted, or being forcibly pulled out of, supercruise mode. Being interdicted starts a minigame where you most aim towards an escape vector to fill up your bar before the attacker fills up his. If you succeed, you escape. Otherwise, you must deal with the pirate head on.

It varies
Time Investment
Suggested Ship
Freighter, ASP, Anaconda
Suggested Upgrades
Frame Shift Drive Upgrades, Cargo Racks

Exploring is extremely hit or miss. Either you love it, or you hate it.
Exploring is a fairly lonely and time-consuming job. The profit you make depends largely on how much data you have to sell, and how unknown the data is. If you have data on an undiscovered system, you can make a very large amount of money. The game will display a tag with the commander’s name alongside an astronomical object to show you first discovered and sold this exploration data.

Time Investment
Suggested Ship
Adder, ASP, Cobra, Type-6 Transporter
Suggested Upgrades
Discovery Scanner, Detailed Surface Scanner, Fuel Scoop, Frame Shift Drive, Auto Field Maintenance Unit

Smuggling is basically trading but you have to worry about the cops.
Smugglers are similar to traders except that they sell goods where it is illegal, on the black market. Smugglers have to use stealth, cunning and special equipment to outwit the Police and sometimes military authorities, especially around stations, to sell their goods at a profit while escaping fines and a criminal record. Smugglers can also be a special case of couriers, where the player is asked to transport forbidden items.

Time Investment
Suggested Ship
Hauler, Adder, Cobra, ASP
Suggested Upgrades
Heat Sink Launcher, Power Plant

As a pirate, you just go around killing people and stealing their cargo.
Pirates naturally earn combat ranking by attacking and destroying other ships. The primary motivation for pirates is the cargo carried by their prey. Pirates use powerful weaponry and their fearsome reputations to encourage traders to hand over their goods.

Very High
Time Investment
Suggested Ship
Cobra Mk. III, ASP Explorer, Anaconda, Federal Dropship, Python
Suggested Upgrades
Hatch Breaker Limpet, Controller, Cargo Scanner, Frame Shift Drive, Cargo Tacks

Mercenary work is found at starport bulletin boards which send the player to fight at Conflict Zones and warzones. In zones with active fighting a mercenary can find near constant work.

Time Investment
Suggested Ship
Eagle, Cobra, Viper, Vulture, Federal Dropship
Suggested Upgrades
Weapon upgrades, Shield upgrades, Armor upgrades

An assassin requires flight experience and solid equipment as their targets are highly dangerous. The payout for taking down targets can be extremely rewarding, but make sure to never underestimate the enemy - their bounties are large for a reason.

Very high
Very high
Time Investment
Suggested Ship
Cobra, Viper, Federal Dropship, Python, Vulture
Suggested Upgrades
FSD Wake Scanner, FSD Interdictor, Kill Warrant Scanner

Bounty Hunter
This is the role everyone wants. This is the job everyone wants to get. It's fun, it's difficult, and it has everything going for it.
Space is a rough place and there are plenty of pirates in the anarchy systems who need to be retired. The bounty hunter takes advantage of the in-game bounty system, earning credits and combat rank for destroying wanted ships. Bounty hunters specialize in lethal, offensively-focused ships which are capable of reliably destroying their prey.

Time Investment
Suggested Ship
ASP Explorer, Cobra, Python, Viper, Vulture
Suggested Upgrades
Kill Warrant Scanner
This section is gonna go over all the details of weapons like weapon types, weapon mounts, and all that good stuff.

Types of Weapons

Energy Weapons
Energy weapons use, well, energy to shoot. Energy weapons are good against shields, but less effective at destroying a hull. They don't need ammunition, but they take time to recharge and they drain weapon energy quickly.
Examples of energy weapons are:
  • Beam lasers, which fire continuously until the person firing it turns it off
  • Burst lasers, which fire three shots per burst, but require more power and generate more heat than a pulse laser
  • Pulse lasers, which are a single shot laser weapon that generates less heat than any other energy weapon

Kinetic Weapons
Kinetic weapons use ammunition to fire, and therefore generate less heat and use less power. Kinetic weapons are more effective against hulls, but less effective against shields.
The types of kinetic weapons are:
  • Cannons fire a large caliber round that explodes on impact with a target
  • Multi-cannons are small-caliber gatling guns that fire quickly
  • Railguns are extremely powerful weapons that require a large amount of power and must be charged before firing
  • Plasma accelerators are ridiculously large and powerful weapons that must be recharged for a few seconds after every shot. Even the smallest of these can take out ships in a single shot.
  • Missile racks are racks that can fire missiles. Said missiles can either be lock-on missiles or dumb-fire missiles.
  • Torpedo pylons are large weapons that shoot a single heat-seeking torpedo that does massive amounts of damage
  • Mine launchers drop mines when fired that detonate when a hostile ship gets too close to it
  • Point defense turrets automatically shoot missiles or mines as long as it has power
  • Fragment cannons are the space equivalent of a shotgun

Weapon Mounts
All weapons are placed in different mounts that determines how they aim at things.

Fixed weapons are powerful, but can only shoot straight ahead. They tend to be cheap and use little power.
The following weapons have fixed versions of them:
  • Beam laser
  • Pulse Laser
  • Burst Laser
  • Cannon
  • Multi-cannon
  • Railgun
  • Plasma Accelerator
  • Missile Rack
  • Torpedo Pylon

Gimbal means that the weapon can rotate independent of which way the ship is pointing. These weapons can track a target even if you're not pointed directly at the target. However, they're normally weaker than fixed weapons and are vulnerable to chaff. Gimbal weapons track heat, so you must keep this in mind.
The following weapons have gimbal versions of them:
  • Beam Laser
  • Pulse Laser
  • Burst Laser
  • Cannon
  • Fragment Cannon
  • Multi-cannon

Turrets are completely independent weapons that will auto-fire at targets.
The following weapons that have turret versions:
  • Beam Laser
  • Pulse Laser
  • Burst Laser
  • Cannon
  • Fragment Cannon
  • Multi-cannon
Third Party Tools
Although Elite: Dangerous is a great game and all, it can sometimes help to have third party apps or tools to get an edge in trading.

Elite: Dangerous Shipyard
This tool basically lets you customize and plan out a ship, and then see the overall costs, how much power it'll use, etc.
Link to website[www.edshipyard.com]

ChangoDock Travel Planner
This online tool lets you figure out the most efficient way to get to your destination. Simple, but great.
Link to website[changodock.com]

Thrudd's Trading Tools
This is another trading tool that lets you query a database of trade commodities and station services. It's pretty great.
Link to website[elitetradingtool.co.uk]
Good Tutorial Videos
Yeah, this'll have some tutorial videos because they'll explain things normally better than anything written.

Official Developer Tutorial Videos
Elite: Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - Basic Flight Controls
Link to video

Elite: Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - Docking
Link to video

Elite: Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - Travel
Link to video

Elite: Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - Starport Services
Link to video

Elite: Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - Galaxy And System Map
Link to video

Elite: Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - Wings
Link to video
I just thought it might be a good idea to say that this guide isn't meant to replace the videos that the developers uploaded, or any tutorial video really.
This is also a very basic guide that isn't in any way expert advice, so don't take it that way at all.
The guide is gonna be overhauled soon anyways, it's pretty crappy when I actually read it.
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galaxyhaketxl Apr 4, 2020 @ 3:41am 
MY install is new
galaxyhaketxl Apr 4, 2020 @ 3:40am 
Can anyone help me ? :steamsad:
galaxyhaketxl Apr 4, 2020 @ 3:40am 
My problem is that the timr i click on PLAY A black window appears saying ELITE DANGEROUS (Client) and in 5 seconds desapear:steamfacepalm:
Awgereen  [author] Nov 28, 2017 @ 7:27pm 
@Rebel Revolver that's because I haven't updated this in 3 years
REDBowl Nov 24, 2017 @ 9:37pm 
Thanks for putting your time into this!

Just an update. In "Third Party Tools" two of the three links are dead.
Dr.Strangelove Aug 28, 2017 @ 5:33pm 
I dont see the outfitting section, am i just at a station that doesnt have that option?
Planewalker May 30, 2017 @ 3:06am 
Good initiative, ty for this!
(you might want to check the first sections; i'm seeing misaligned pictures behind the text)

Tbh i was about to start a beginner's guide myself(i still might), because the extreme lack of easy to understand information about this game is unerringly dumbfoundig.
Seriously, when you are told to dock at the station in the tutorial,
Like wtf, just because reasons or what?

Ohwell, gl&hf. o7
PunyBob Dec 27, 2016 @ 7:13am 
Didnt know about radar range till now thanks
darthsutius Jun 25, 2016 @ 12:41am 
Any idea where I can find a decent towel? :steamfacepalm:
Awgereen  [author] Apr 8, 2016 @ 2:15pm 
@spooky neither do i