Friday, 1 May 2015

Elite Dangerous Second Account - from riches to rags.

Hey space cadets what is going on?
I'm Cmdr TwingTwang and welcome to the space bar. 

In the first part I tried to give an honest appraisal of the sidewinder and the first leg of my journey from the ground up. In this article I'm going to spare the details on combat or trading and talk a little more about the philosophy and mentality of the second account.

A good fraction of my playing time has been social in ad-hoc groups or combat and trade wings and I've never wanted to give that up so didn't go exploring. Because I fly with the fleet at least once a week, there wasn't any easy way to go exploring however I want to get my explorer rank up and decided now was the time.

Why Exploring? I don't really know. The plan was always to get a trade ship and use that to fund exploration and combat endeavours, and sticking to this plan gave me a playing experience sponsored by Lakon Spaceways, sprinkled with some combat experience in various ships along the way. Right now its time for something different and sending my main ship exploring will leave my secondary account fighting in conflict zones.

Purchase Price
Its probably quite possible to fit some short range exploration in and still be back each week in time for some social gameplay, but really the only option is two accounts.  The extra purchase costs £39.99, which isn't cheap but isn't outside the realms of affordable either. The financial cost is a once-off payment and being reasonable the cost of the game is worth less than the cost of my playing time if I'm going to play seriously.
If you are thinking of buying a second account, then consider how much time you are going to spend in it and if it counts as value for money. However you roll the dice, forty quid is a lot of money for a sidewinder though.

Starting from scratch
Having a second account isn't the same as having a second pilot on your main account. There is no safety net, no shared credit balance and no easy option to transfer money between ships. Its not like having a roster of ships to fly, and earning money in one account provides no transferable benefit to the other.
This is why I'm going exploring on my main account - I'll receive the accolades, rank, credits and the reputation for the effort. The secondary account will get nothing, and in fact anything it does earn will be throwaway, valueless to me overall.

Friends and groups
My friends list is cleared and I'm not in any private groups, which feels oddly harsh and makes space a lonely place for a sidewinder.  I've added a couple of Alliance pilots that know me, and was able to get some trade bonds as well as serve as a Nav Lock beacon. (yey) but I don't want to make new friends, and don't want to divide my friends between accounts either.
This was a big reason to go exploring with the second account, and keep flying space planes with my friends.

Shake it up
If I just wanted a change of pace in my gameplay, I could go exploring in my main account. I can afford a few weeks in the void and to be honest its no big deal.  If you are thinking about exploring because its something different, or you want to be the first to discover something, then save up the money you need and just go for a jaunt across the galaxy.
I wouldn't recommend buying a second account just so you can do two things at once. Overall I'm aware that its a luxury item that really isn't needed for the enjoyment of the game, and its just as good to stay with one account  - better if the ranks and earnings matter to you - and do these things as the mood takes you.

Sock Puppet
There is a short crossover between my new account arriving and my main one leaving, and I shamelessly logged in to both at once so that my sidewinder could earn trade bonds from my type nine as it saved up for the Asp explorer.
This felt pretty lame, but its a tax on the game for not providing me a better way to do this. I want to transfer twenty million to my second account so I can get setup with a Vulture and keep on fighting while I'm off exploring and there are no options here. (ab)using the second account like this isn't a great reason to buy one but the maths are interesting to consider. The nav-locked jumps speed up my trading by about a million credits per hour, or twenty percent of your takings if you are in a smaller ship, plus I get around 150K/Hour deposited in the secondary account by way of trade bonds. Again expect lower figure if your main trade ship is smaller.
Forty pounds gets me an extra million per hour - its almost like a bribe, I mean, backer benefit all over again.

Colour Coded
As well as missing my in-game purchases, the second account doesn't have access to the out-of-game purchases I've made - paint jobs. So I've gone from a majestic stella peacock to flying stock ships like a space scrub.
This doesn't matter much, but it is a difference that's allowed me to reevaluate how important the look of my ship is.  I suspect my second account won't get any perks or extras for a long time - if ever. It feels like they are being thrown away as "I can't take them with me" and when I switch back to my main account it'll all be forgotten.

Captains Blog
I also wanted to go exploring and write a bit about it, but didn't want to sacrifice the ability to discuss ships and outfits. These are mutually exclusive tasks, and unresolvable without a second account.  A hiatus or worse, a rather dull "This one time, at the nebula..." monologue would be about as interesting to write as it would to read and starting from a sidewinder in the second account has given me plenty to write home about.

Conclusions
Overall, starting a second account was clean and painless. I think I had to use two different email addresses to sign up with, but that no real problem in this day and age. I used a gaming aliases I've had in the past so it should be easy to remember.

The £40 luxury spend on a second account just so I can explore the galaxy is an expensive spend that I wouldn't recommend overall. For me, the purchase price is smaller than the cost of my time and I don't overly object to paying it but for most gamers this extra exploration tax is going to be too high to represent value for money - You don't get anything you didn't already have, but pay for the privilege.

Despite pointing out all the negatives, starting a second account isn't the wrong move for me and I've got less buyers remorse now than I did when I bought my Type-7 Transport.  Its going to enhance my gaming experience, I've enjoyed the first baby steps in the Sidewinder, and I'm going to enjoy being able to explore as well as fly locally over these next six weeks.