Saturday, 21 March 2015

Elite Dangerous Rules of Acquisition - War profits

Hey Space Cadets, What is going on?
I'm Cmdr TwingTwang and welcome to the Rules of Acquisition.

I've just got back from the conflict at Lugh and wanted to make sure everybody who hasn't done their part gets over there and helps out.  This war won't be won without you, and even including the travel time from Leesti-Lugh this has been the highest Credit-per-hour experience I've had so far.

The four of us headed out there together, a Class-A viper, a top-spec combat cobra with me flying one of the two Vultures.  There are a few conflict zones to choose from in Lugh, and we flew out to Lugh-11 to rendezvous with the capital ship there. Even if you aren't a combat pilot the experience of an epic space battle is well worth the trip out and its a new splash of gameplay.

In a busy combat zone, you need a ship with staying power so you are talking about beams or burst lasers.  I'll have to write a separate outfitters article about the Vulture, I've tried a few different hardpoint options and the Pilots Choice award goes to Gimbal Burst lasers.

With a bit of practice I managed to reach about 1M Cr/H in bounty, and after a few hours cashed in the 12M reward I had earned.  This made it a 15M credit adventure taking a few hours. I really could have stayed out in the stars smoking fools all night but alas I decided to cash in the bounty and get back to civilised space.

The biggest point to be said, is that you can make 1M Cr/H in bounty in a combat zone, but the big 12M payout is available as a mission that you can do just the once. So this was an exercise in reaching that jackpot as soon as possible, then cashing it in and going home.

There are plenty of pilot tricks and combat training you can go through to deal the highest damage per second, but I'm going to leave those on the back shelf and talk about the profit bottom line - this is a Rules of Acquisition article not a Pilot Academy.   To reach the maximum profit, you need to tag as many ships as possible per hour.  You don't need to scrap the highest number of hulls, just contribute enough damage to register for the bounty and then switch targets.
This is where high power Burst Lasers really score well. The short controlled bursts needed to get credits for the kill won't overheat your weapons and will give you a few seconds to cool off and recharge before you hit the next ship.

Just like stopwatch-rares or high-volume freighting, I strongly recommend instrumenting your combat as seeing how much your ship is making. Having a stopwatch ticking away in your eyeline really helps you focus on that profit line. After your 30 or 60 minute limit is hit, check your bounty and try to beat that target.  Switch up your style and see if its led you to a higher or lower income.

The second step is to compare this figure to your trading totals.  E.g. If you are naturally a T7-Pilot, then you'd normally earn two million credits an hour plain sailing.  A Sixer will make a cool one million in the same time frame.  The bigger Fat-9 and Anacondas can carry hundreds of tonnes, and make a significant amount. So much that you don't fight in the war for money - and the profiteering advice doesn't really hold up.  If you drive a Lakon Fat-9 then you go to war for fun, its not about the money.
But I'm a T7 Pilot, so normally pull 2M without breaking a sweat and ended up taking about half that per hour in the combat zone.

A short (few hours) run at the conflict zone gave me a really high return, and while I coulda, woulda, shoulda, stayed there for hour after hour I realised that you can hit the 12M reward very quickly and cash out for a great hourly rate.  Any longer time I spent was likely be become less credit efficient, so stopping and switching back to my T7 was the right move for my bank balance.

So, back to war profiteering. Fighting the war costs me about 1M Cr/Hour.  Thats the profit and loss bottom line. And its not pretty.
One million in bounty, minus the two million lost from not trading, means I'm losing a Million Credits per hour.  However, I'm gaining a flat once-only fixed fee of twelve million.  So.. I could fight in the war for precisely twelve hours and break even.

Every minute after twelve hours is a net loss. Every minute less represents my war profit margins.

With that established, the quicker I can earn that twelve million and bail, the higher the profit margin in going to be.  Granted, I probably could have reached the fifteen million mark in fewer than fifteen hours, so continued to turn a profit for as long as I'd wanted.  But that sounds too much like hard work. This is an article about war profiteering - getting the highest income from the lowest effort, and that sweet spot seemed to be a few hours of awesome fun and a jackpot payout.

So that's my war profiteering, cold and calculating. I ran the numbers, smoked some fools and flew home with pockets full of gold.  If you have war stories, tactics, or profit numbers leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you.

I'm Cmdr TwingTwang, making money one war at a time. Fly casual Everybody.