Elite Dangerous. First time dealings with the engineers

After having a few engineers present themselves to me in various parts of the known galaxy, curiosity now demanded that I make the pilgrimage to see what they are all about, what they can offer and most importantly what they want.

Throughout your career in the universe you will do certain actions that will, like the eye of Sauron, divert their gaze to you.

The first introduction was received by space mail. A little vague in the description, but you receive an avatar of who wants to deal with you, their position in the vast galaxy and their initial demand for them to at least receive you before any work for upgrades can begin.

Here I have gained the interest of 5 engineers. Though one remains illusive to me as I have not quite met the requirements.
Now that they are entered onto my ships logs, I can see what items they can work on. Whilst that is great, I have no idea what they can do to these items, only one way to find out.

So the first two questions I had to answer, well maybe 3 was…
1)What ship did I want to upgrade
2)Which items from the engineers I know did I wish to have work done to.
3)What in the name of Thargoids do they want for such work.

Scratching my head and sipping along on whatever they call this alcoholic drink in the depths of the Skrippo’s red light district, I reluctantly retrain my thoughts from the exotic dancer with multiple limbs to the task at hand. My Python, whilst a convenient multipurpose ship, suffers horribly from a small jump range. Also whilst supporting a big bad shield generator, enemy ships seem to plink it down a little too easily. Rubbing my chin and slapping what I can only think is the behind on this alien exotic dancer, the choice was made to take the introduction of Elvira Martuuk who specialty encompases both the frame shift drive and shield generators.

Two birds one stone and all that (or so I thought). With another butt slap, a strategically placed credit and a cheeky wink, I leave Skripo’s finest and head to my hangar.

Firing up my Python, and looking over at the empty right seat, I can’t help but think how great a Wookie would be sitting there. Time to check out where Elvira is and how long it will take to get there.

350ish light years, that’s a bit of a run in this lazy bird.

Now lets have a look where in the system is she located.

Got the system and planet, lets take a closer look where I will be heading on this planet to find her.

Elvira, however, wants as her handshake gift, 3 items of Soontil relics. They are not found in many places. A quick call to my black market and slave smuggling friends eventually I found a station that houses them. Its not good news as its over 200 light years to get the relics, and not really in the direction of Elvira. My imaginary Wookie and I will need more booze for this trip.

Co-ordinates entered and jumps calculated I am off on my way. Obviously my fuel tank covers not even half of this distance and I am perturbed by the fact there are a string of suns on my route that are incompatible with fuel scooping. An imaginary Raaaaarrrrrrrrr from the right hand seat suggest some strategic stops to ensure we have the endurance to make our destination.

The flight was long and uneventful and watching a Wookie cough up orange fur balls during the flight, I was glad to be down and out of the ship for a while. Scouring the markets, I see the Soontil Relics I am after but there isn’t many here. I need 3 and only 8 up for grabs… " Grab my wallet Chewy, its time to power shop! "

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Huddling the expensive goods under my jacket, its back to the Python. Clean out Chewie’s poo tray, knock in the coordinates and engage the navigation. Aligning with the airdock I take an uncomfortable second glance at the number of jumps required to get to Elvira.

“Punch it Chewie !!”

It was an uneventful Flight, considering I have rare goods on board. Maybe this time my sanity and imaginary Wookie could not handle this extended time in the depths of space. I am sure I saw more than once Chewie scraping his bum on the ground with legs in the air and walking forward with his arms. I wonder if Elvira has Wookie worming tablets ?

Anyhow, the Frame Shift Drive crackles and the swirling mass of the jump calms down as I exit hyperspace. A glance at my left panel shows I have reached my desired system and now under supercuise haste is made to the planet that houses Elvira’s engineering base.

Planet now coming into view, its time to lock things down and prepare for planet fall. This is a larger planet, I will need to investigate its gravitational mass before I make final approach. Its easy to forgo the thoughts of safety when watching such a vista it feels like I am going to be landing on Mars.

Closer to the surface now, I can see the gravity go up on this large planet. It turns out its mass is 1.2 times that of earth with the same multiplier to its effect on gravity. My approach in this big ship will have to use some caution. Its a far cry from the small planets I am used to . The massive crater from some cataclysmic event look very impressive even at this distance.

Finally with decent under control, I am greeted by an eerie robotic voice introducing itself and asking for my docking request. Its not without trepidation that I submitted the request as who knows what is to be found in Elvira’s base?

Either way, I have come too far to turn back. Its time to meet this lady of influence.

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I’ve not done engineers yet, so this AAR (and your furry friend; it’s a lifestyle and a choice) is excellent for me!

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Ditto. My Asp needs longer legs.

Nice write up!

Also I’m reading what I can potentially do to my Vulture. The new grind is real. Long live the new grind.

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Very nice! I’m really liking the role-playing that Elite Dangerous offers, but doesn’t force down your throat.

Introductions made plus introductory greeting gift of 3 Soontil Relics and Elvira seems pleased. Though not that pleased. I find there is a tad of a grind to these engineers. But with a bit of engineer-Fu and some smart work it doesn’t look like its too taxing. I told the engineer that once in olden times, there were some strange things called helicopters that too could also achieve vertical flight. Throwing in the trump card that the collective was pulled for power seemed to amuse her but in no way fast tracked my relations with her.

I am going to have to do it her way.

The initial gift opened up a tier 1 level of modifications to which she can offer. Depending on the module (and maybe Elvira’s expertise) I can see that some modules are capable of up to Tier 5 in modding black magic.

Elvira greets me with her background (as colourful as mine - could my dark trades and happenings have pleased her?) She offers the following in upgrades.

Level 2 in Engines
Level 3 in Shield Generators
Level 5 in Frame Shift Drive (FSD)

Great, so what do I do ? what does it cost?
But remember she only trusts me so far up to level one. Aparently getting Elvira or any engineer for that matter to do any modification will improve your rank with that engineer allowing access to higher tiers.

So without further adue, the main focus of this visit is the FSD. Its time to ask stupid questions to Elvira on how this works and why not start out here. I chose the option of FSD upgrades and Elvira takes me to a page that a host of upgrades on the left with lots of different effects. Effects such as “Faster Boost sequence” “Increased Range” and more were up for offer. I guess maybe other engineers that offer the same service may offer different effects.

Again my focus is FSD range and level 1 is the only one available to me. So I enquired. In the left-of-middle on the page, you have a list of “Primary Effects” These are the main items that the mod will effect. On this particular mod Mass, integrity, power draw and optimised mass are the affected attributes.

This particular mod will give me a negative attribute to Mass, integrity, power draw (in red) of a random amount for the offset of a positive attribute to Optimised mass (in blue) which will give me a greater jump range. So you can see there will be some trade off in modding to get your desired benefit.

In the centre of the page there is secondary effects (on this one mostly positive) which can after your creation add even more bonuses or reductions to attributes. Finally under this is the cost of producing the module which will be a commodity of some sort.

On the picture above the Level 1 Increased FSD rage mod will cost me 1 x “Atypical Disrutped wake echoes” which I don’t have. Don’t be disheartened though, if you don’t have it, the engineer will tell you where you are most likely to find them and hence is the grind to the engineers. Unless you research before hand, you do not know what items you need for the engineers until you meet them.

I don’t have what she wants for my chosen mod, but how do I level up with her anyway, was my train of thought, before I trundle off to get the stuff she needs. Well quite simply, choose any mod you DO have the resources for and get her to do it. You don’t have to accept the mod, but if you get her to do the work anyway she takes the commodities and your influence increased. In the picture below you can see I have chosen a Level 1 “FSD shielded mod”. This takes one unit of nickel to make and I have 77 of those. I don’t want this mod, but I can increase my standing with her by making her do this mod many times. Its also a good way to practice how modding works by doing something you don’t want first and increase your standing at the same time.

So generating the mod will bring you to a screen as below. The main attributes at the top will randomly select a figure of either positive or negative and the outcome is totally random. This is called the “roll” as in roll of the dice. You can roll a mod as many times as you want to chance a great outcome as long as you have the required commodities. So in the roll in the picture below I received the following attributes to my FSD
A 26% mass in crease - no thanks
A maximum increase to integrity coupled with a secondary effect - oh yes please
A 3% reduction in thermal load - not bad
A 1% reduction in optimised mass - which is a smaller jump range… no thanks.
The secondary effect on the right hand side of the screen is a random multiplier that shoved my integrity attribute to its max. Secondary effects can also take rolls past the max or minimum values.

Then you simply choose to discard the mod, apply the mod or try again for another cost of the commodity and you can do this as many times as you want. Here this mod, even though I didn’t want it increased my standing with Elvira.

In the picture below, I have highlighted the Level 5 “Increased FSD Range” so you could see the items required for it. There was something worthy of note here as different levels of the same mod may not require the same materials. I.e. if you don’t have commodities for a level 1 mod, you may have what you need for a level 2 of the same mod.

So to surmise what I can from my brief dealings with Elvira, would be as follows.
Different engineers work on different modules or have different effect to modules.
You will need some resources but the engineers tell you where you can find them
It so far hasn’t cost me any money, just commodities.
Practice on modules you don’t need and you have plenty of commodities for to get your rank up
Its not too much of a grind. I would estimate that I have done less that 15 level 1 mods (less than 5 minutes) and that has allowed Elvira to grant me Level 3 access.

Chewie and I can definitely see the benefits to modding, but check your ships ability carefully.

May the Mod be with you.

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Question: Does the mod stay on the module, as in can I store/switch that 5A FSD between ships (that can use a size 5) or are the mods tied to a specific ship?

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They are a module, so it can be removed. Plus in a short while also stored and therefore moved to another ship.

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Me speako a-bad a-english. Sorry.

Cool. Do they come back as part of your insurance if that ship gets destroyed? (Like someone crashes into a station like I have never done. Ever).

Ah… cough
Erhm…

It seems like there’s some limitations and…

Well…it’s actually not covered by insurance.
You get the module but you lose anything the Engineer added.

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Chewie and I reconvened aboard our trusty python. We have some basic Level 1 mods to shields engines and FSD. Quite happy with shield roll, for level 1 there was a noticeable improvement to resistance from Kinetic and heat sources at the expense of reboot time if my shields go down. Well the plan is, if the shields go down, its tail between legs time and run forest run.
I could only afford one roll to the FSD and the result was negligible. However the mod was accepted anyway.

Now forearmed with the knowledge of what to get and where to get it, the game plan was to return to Skrippo, see a favourite red light dancer, change into the longer legged Asp (a favourite ship of mine) and bust off towards my first objective to retrieve magnetic emitter coils.

Arriving back at Skrippo

Switching to the handy asp

I have found the commodities I am looking for. Its just under 140ly away. Whilst plotting, I become fully away of the abilities of the asp. Not optimised for long travel it can do this in 7 jumps and still have a quarter tank of fuel. The asp’s flightdeck hold two occupants, one on top of the other separated by a floor. At least this way I won’t have to smell the wookie.

After arriving at the station, I load up on stocks. But a horrid thought comes over me. Elite does not have a mechanic to transfer commodities between parked ships at a station. Looking at the wookie and telling him such results in a horrid look back. Gotta think fast.

No worries furball, I say. I have a cunning plan

I am going to take all this expensive stuff and jettison it outside the station boarders. Then quickly dock, grab the python, come back out and pick up the goodies… Waddyathink?

A furry hand turns into a fist and is now shaking at me. Hmmm the plan seems sound. What does the wookie know ?

So a frantic dumping of cargo followed by a fine for scratching a departing ship whilst I am trying to dock at warp factor snot. Quick jump into the python, stick in the limpet module to quickly collect the wares and boost back out the station.

On the way out of the station I see a beluga liner being destroyed near the airlock… I look at the wookie and he shakes his head at me in disappointment. That was the ship I hit on the way in. Obviously throwing it off course and it became stuck near the exit. The station doesn’t take loitering too well and decided to obliterate the beluga passenger liner.

“Was that my fault?” I sheepishly ask Chewie… he doesn’t respond.

Mind focused on the task we zoom out the station towards the dropped cargo. I have already started deploying my drones ready for collection… they don’t respond. I look at Chewie, he isn’t pleased. I am starting to think I need more space between out two chairs.

Then a growl of disgust comes from Chewie as he points to my radar contact screen. What was a load of expensive commodities floating in space was now only 4 lonely canisters… I look at Chewie, He is now looking at me continuously.

I scoop up the few floating cargo, return passed the debris of the Beluga in the docking port and land. Chewie has fallen suddenly silent.

Checking the manifest, I casually say… “I guess we need to do that trip again… but this time do you think we should take the correct ship?”

Chewie responds.

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Just rereading this excellent guide. Now the commodities use has been patched I’m keen to see what’s up with Elvira and see if I can’t get this AspX over 30ly range…

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So I spoke to Elvira (once I got over the disappointment of the lack of huge beehive hair-do) and did her bidding. I’m currently at a level 4 FSD and trying to gather enough goodies for lots of pulls of the Module Fruit Machine simulator, to try to get at least three cherries.

I have to say I don’t like the way you have to gather stuff like ‘Chemical Distillery’ bits from the wreckage of haulers, as the best way for that is to go to an Anarchy system and just kill all in sight. As a trader it’s breaking my role-playing ethos (Han Solo shoots first Chewie!).