Choose My Adventure: Where Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen meet

    
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I’m going to attempt to connect apples and oranges here. In my final days with Elite Dangerous for CMA, I have actually managed to connect a few mental bridges between it and my time with Star Citizen last month. And, no, it’s not just because both games are sandboxes that are set in space and feature internet spaceships.

At their very core, both games want to simulate the experience of stuff that just isn’t technically feasible right now – namely, civilian-level space travel and the industries that spring up from that advancement. In that aspect, both Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous tickle that simulation nerve that I love the best. They have both taken a lot of time to work out the fictional minutia on how to make that work and make you feel skilled for applying literal rocket science to the act of driving a car. They just happen to arrive to it in different ways.

What I like the most about Star Citizen is that it makes you think about the process of arriving to, get inside of, and firing up your spacecraft. However, it also didn’t really seem to devote a huge amount of time to the flying of said spacecraft, either in terms of navigation or steering. Elite Dangerous, on the other hand, has you take a whole lot of things into consideration before you even lift off, and nearly as many things to consider while you’re in flight such as scooping fuel and scanning systems. Heck, even arriving to a new place requires focus.

Both are enriching and engaging simulation experiences, just in their own unique ways, though the feeling of mastery over the systems in Elite Dangerous was absolutely more rewarding to me personally.

Both of these worlds also feel really well lived-in. The universe of Star Citizen has yet to be written, obviously, but I think of the advertisements for spaceships that have been put together to this point as evidence of some forethought: They strike me as not just a flashy way to siphon money out of supporter wallets but an indication that the companies of the game’s world really have history and presence. In Elite Dangerous, that sense of a full world comes whenever you arrive at a major starport. The little touches like radio commands and billboards on arrival and announcements that boom inside are really immersive.

Finally, the simple joy of flying a ship from point A to point B in both games is unparalleled. I promise, I’m not just saying this because I’m a terrible combat pilot in Elite Dangerous; I just love the sensation of flight and the steps needed to get off the ground.

In Star Citizen, this delight was mostly achieved in the process of manually delivering things from the cargo hold to a drop-off container while also managing approach to a landing pad. In Elite Dangerous, the route plotting metagame, careful mitigation of fuel and cargo space, and even surprises like avoiding interdiction made the otherwise routine task of cargo delivery much more involved. Some might call that busywork, but I call that deftly scratching at the simulation itch.

Are there some things that Star Citizen does better than Elite Dangerous? Sure there are. For one, I really would love if Elite gave us some space legs so we could get up and walk around instead of wearing our ships like a pair of pants. I also would like if Elite had more specialized ships on offer like the purpose-built ones that are currently in Star Citizen… and yes, I am wanting that even after looking at a list of ships currently in the game. Regardless, I found a whole lot to love in both of these games as a simulation game fan.

So yes, these two have some similarities. They both appeal to my sim-loving side quite a bit, especially since they answer the question of how to simulate fake technology in such divergent ways. Star Citizen seems to be focused on the creation of a fantastical world full of beautiful starships and a Wild West style interstellar prairie, while Elite Dangerous is about the hard science and careful planning that’d be required of a ship pilot.

For that reason, I won’t choose one over the other. They both strike my fancy. They both give me that sim gaming smile. Just because there are two games that look to be appealing to a similar type of fan doesn’t mean you can’t be a fan of both of them. That might come off as annoyingly centrist, but frankly I want to live in an MMO world where both of these games can coexist.

That’s mostly because I also don’t want to live in an MMO world where the only option for those who want to simulate living in space with big spaceships is EVE Online.

From sci-fi to high fantasy, we now turn our attention to Elder Scrolls Online thanks to your votes last week. I can’t say I’m surprised by this choice, and I’m extremely eager to get started on my adventure in Tamriel. I’ve also restored my subscription to the game in order to open up my choices for this month’s adventure, so that should make for (hopefully) more interesting choices.

The questions, then, are what to start as and where to start. Race and alliance choices will be left up to me, and I’m definitely open to suggestions on what builds to follow in the comments, but let’s tackle the first part of that question now:

What class should I select in Elder Scrolls Online?

  • Dragonknight. Be all burn-y and..um...knightly. (16%, 29 Votes)
  • Sorcerer. Spells, spells, spells! And maybe pets. (14%, 26 Votes)
  • Nightblade. Be sneaksy and tricksy and stabsy. (15%, 28 Votes)
  • Templar. Wield the Light against the darkness! Or heal people, maybe. (21%, 38 Votes)
  • Warden. Because bears. (34%, 62 Votes)

Total Voters: 183

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As far as where to start, I’ve got Summerset, Morrowind, and the major locations of the vanilla game accessible to me. I’ve played quite a bit of the vanilla regions (particularly Daggerfall), have had some time in Morrowind, and have had no time in Summerset. Don’t let that information steer your desires, though! Tell me where to begin our journey:

What area should I start in?

  • Summerset. Be friends with all of the elves. (27%, 48 Votes)
  • Morrowind. Help that Vivec guy out. (26%, 45 Votes)
  • Aldmeri. Because Khajiit. (14%, 24 Votes)
  • Daggerfall. A bit vanilla, but it's comfy. (9%, 15 Votes)
  • Ebonheart. Who cares if the three races kinda hate each other? (25%, 43 Votes)

Total Voters: 175

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The beginning of February will be the end of these polls: February 1st at 1:00 p.m. EST. Once we’ve started out on class and location, I’ll net a few levels in and then we’ll suss out the kind of build to follow through with. Until then, I hope to see you in the stars of both space sandboxes. Chilling revelation, I know.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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Humble DG

I’ll say first that while I appreciate all of the information and writing, talking about SC and ED, and then ESO is a bit weird. This seems like it should have been two articles, and while I get the reasoning, it’s just a little misleading from a title perspective. Just some feedback.

I’m probably biased towards ED because of it being released and to me, it’s in the top 10 best experiences to be had in VR. There’s no words to describe how much larger the world is through VR in ED. And while SC might have that down the road, I feel their approach is actually too much real experience driven.

I started writing a whole bunch of complaints but decided to delete it. I simply state that walking around is not exciting just to do basic things like find my ship and unload cargo. That’s not exciting. That’s work. And pointless work at that. It’s too early to judge SC, but I feel the entry to ED vs SC is much easier in ED to get going and start. Just an opinion.

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Latająca Mysza

As has it been said before – I don’t understand what does Scam Citizen is doing in that story.
1) ED does exist as a released game – SC not so much (and I doubt it ever will). Even though Braben started his crowdfounding AFTER Roberts, and AFAIK got less money. This two things can hardly be compared.
2) Legend of the Space Legs. I don’t wanna be mean, but I’ve seen SC anouncemenet live and all that fuss was about lack of decent spacesim on the market – not about lack of decent FPS. So – legs is not something that SC is (or rather was) supposed to be mainly about. And if we must talk about space FPS – Hellion is still better than SC in that regard (and a lot cheaper).

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GoJammit

People play it everyday so you don’t really make sense. You can argue about the quality of the game or the depth. But anyone who wants can buy their way in and fly around the open world and do missions both developer and player generated or compete against other players in organized pvp, can do so right now.

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Latająca Mysza

“People pay it everyday” – fixed that for you.

Ppl don’t play it – they are merely testing it. That’s what “Alpha” stands for. The fact that ppl are paying AS IF they were playing it doesn’t change that.

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GoJammit

They test it by playing it. And they seem to be having a good time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVZ6Mb2XmYY

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Annoyed badger

sorry, I’m pretty put out you had to go and bring SC into this. What could have been a nice article about elite and your time in it, instead for no apparant reason brough up that other game (which i note you went out of your way to mention what it does better than elite iyo, but not the other way around).

I’m not going to comment on what I think of SC, thats irrelevant, I jsut dont see why it had to be brought into a CMA about a totally different game.

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PanagiotisLial1

I personally like the dogfight/flightsim in space feel of Elite Dangerous even I havent played much since I boughted a few years back

For TESO I wanted to have a better experience in chronological order so right after the forced summerset tutorial I teleported to my race’s actual starter town and from there the vestige tutorial and Ebon Pact story

Bimelion
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Bimelion

I think it is a bit unfair to compare a released working game to a bunch of promises. You cant do much more than move around in SC. It is a poorly working tech demo without any content.

And this is not going to change anytime soon:
SC development is in the backburner as the single player module gets all the attention at least until 2020 – CIG was running on fumes according to their released financials and were forced to bring in external investor cash in to survive until that.

The hope is that the singleplayer mocap movie “game” will sell well enough to fund the MMO part. That is right, the 250m gathered is gone at that point and the singleplayer SQ42 sales are needed to fund the promised multiplayer game.

Unfortunately, at this point, most people who are even tangentially interested in SQ42 already own at least one account.

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Joe Blobers

Quote OP: “For that reason, I won’t choose one over the other. They both strike my fancy”

He said it all and both are going to improve over years with their own specific gameplay.

About your perception of “fumes” and released finance, that said nothing about real cash in hands. Trust me, you can “hide” legally 10’s M$ as future expenses allowing to provide “negative” book to authorities, hence extra fiscal deduction.
The fact they kept hiring year after year, despite having no way to know for sure what would be a year total pledges say a lot about their under control business plan and multiple funds backup… confirmed by a +460M$ valuation from an independent cabinet.

At this point, the question is not about whether they can deliver but how fun every jobs will be in SC: salvage, repair, medic… and how good will be the new flight model for most after several inevitable iteration during 2019.

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Roger Melly

If that is indeed true the private investors money won’t last long given the rate they seem to be burning through money . It would mean that it’s imperative that they now finish SQ42 and that most if not all development should be concentrating on that now and if that should not be a success upon release then the future of Star Citizen itself will be in doubt.

My guess is what might happen in that event is that CIG will merge with a larger company to secure more funding at which point Chris Roberts will lose a lot of control over the development of the project .

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Dividion

The private investment is essentially 1 year’s worth of funding, which along with this year’s concept sales should ensure that they’ll at least get Squadron 42 released next year. Hopefully it generates enough sales to keep them going long enough to release more, or that it’s spectacular enough to warrant retail merchandising interest in the properties (figurines, ship models, etc) that could bring in some extra funding via licensing. Time will tell. They have one heck of a development team at this point, and it’s up to them to determine their own level of success (or not).

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Roger Melly

Let us hope that Squadron 42 is an instant classic them

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GoJammit

They didn’t compare elite to the promise of SC. They compared it to what it is right now. As upset as I am with the slow progress of the game, its still a playable game at this point and people seem to be having a good time with it. There is definitely more to do than just walk around. To say otherwise would be either misinformed or willfully ignorant.

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Roger Melly

I see them as two parallel universes one of order and the other of chaos .

Guess which is which :P

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Anstalt

I’ve never been much of a space fan. I loved Freelancer but could never really get into any other game.

I bought E:D last year in a sale for like £5, got myself a joystick and throttle and gave it a try. However, the first 20 hours of gameplay I felt like all I was doing was flying endlessly between systems, spending all my time making sure I was slowing down properly so I didn’t overshoot a station. Needless to say, it wasn’t fun so I gave up.

Your recent CMA inspired me to give it another go, and this time I’ve enjoyed it much more! I got into bounty hunting, found myself an asteroid belt and have just been kicking butt and earning cash! Now that I’ve got myself some upgrades it’s proving enjoyable, though my current ship (viper mk4) handles like a boat :-(

Still don’t have much of a clue about other ways to play the game, havent tried online nor do I have a clue about the Thargoid stuff, but at the moment bounty hunting is still fulfilling. Think my next step is going to be building an explorer ship and heading out into the unknown (I’m still near Sol….)

smuggler-in-a-yt
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smuggler-in-a-yt

Your second paragraph summed it up nicely for me. I am a huge sci-fi and space wizard fan. All things of the void to me are magic. Spelljammer, Star Wars, Firefly, Star Trek. I’m the type that buys all those technical read out coffee table books, from the Enterprise to the Sulaco, because I love how much time and energy goes in to explaining the impossible.

I was more than happy to bust my joystick out of it’s dusty corner and fire up E:D. The tutorial was interesting. I realized quickly I absolutely sucked at dogfighting (and oddly enough there was no way to have the computer fight for you), pretty much played purely through missile stand off, and then ran a couple of runs.

And then I ran out of fuel. And the UI was so obtuse that I pretty much rage quit and never went back. I can suffer through a lot. But the UIs that these games inflict on people is just obscene…

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BalsBigBrother

Wow someone actually did a fair comparison of Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen without resorting to hyperbole making points that I can’t really disagree with. Both games have something to offer if you are prepared to look for it and put the time in.

I do have some personal doubts about SC but that is more me being around long enough to see it to completion than anything else these days. I would not wish it to implode and I do hope that it is able meet the grand vision it has set out for itself.

I am just happy that the space sim market has picked up again and we are seeing games with some ambition and vision, the more the merrier in my view.

Oh yeah for ESO I voted Warden because bears what more reason do you need, BEARS!

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Fervor Bliss

Massively OP Podcast Episode 205: At the end had a theme that Early Access “Just don’t do it”. Is early access ruining video games?

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Ironwu

Pretty much agree with everything you have said about SC and E:D. The only reservation I have is that SC is actually not a fully fleshed out and released game yet. It will be interesting to see where SC ends up, if and when it ever is released as a finished product.

Voted for Sorcerer in Summerset for you. They are a hoot to play, and if you pass on the pets, really powerful and fast.

Warden can also be powerful and fast, but takes longer to develop than the Sorcerer. Dragonknight and Templar take even longer to build up.