Elite Dangerous

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of space, video games, or video games set in space. I was a very early backer of Star Citizen, and am still eagerly awaiting the release of the persistent universe. But I also backed Elite: Dangerous as well, and although the initial scope was far more limited than Star Citizen’s, Elite has already seen a “1.0” release, and I’ve been playing it an awful lot, all the way up from the first beta.

And damn, it’s good!

Voyager 1, found in the Sol system, ~2M Ls out
Voyager 1, found in the Sol system, ~2M Ls out

The discipline and focus of the team at Frontier Development has produced one of the most polished space sim games I’ve ever played, and while there are plenty of gaps in features compared to the competition, everything that’s there is done so well that I continue to be impressed every time I get in that cockpit and launch into the void.

After putting dozens of hours into the final release, I’ve gathered a few notes here that will hopefully help others in their journies to the stars. I will attempt to keep this up to date for as long as I’m playing the game.


  • Thrudd’s Trading Tool - This is a must-have tool for checking prices of goods at stations around the galaxy. It allows you to plan trade runs, find the nearest or cheapest source of goods, and much more. The data is maintained by users, and it can import data from EliteOCR so that you can update prices without manually entering all the values.

  • Elite Shipyard - This is an excellent tool for planning ship purchases or upgrades. You can plug in any combinations of upgrades and equipment possible, and see how that impacts your ship’s mass, jump range, insurance costs, and more. Can also generate permalinks to save or share your ship configurations.

  • Elite Rare Trader - This is an interactive tool for planning rare goods trading routes, including calculation of jump distances between systems, and optimal selling locations for each rare product.

  • CMDR Club Routes - Great tool for planning jump routes beyond the 100LY limit of in-game galaxy map. I generally use this to find midpoints on long journies that are about 60LY apart, so that I can still use the galaxy map for plotting routes so that I don’t need to manually target the next jump each time, but without needing to wait forever for it to map jumps out to 100LY.


  • If you’re flying a Sidewinder, Hauler, Adder, or anything else with less than 40 tons of cargo space, one of the best ways to make money trading is by hauling rare goods. Buy the rare goods, and sell them at a station 140LY away for maximum profit. Exploit “clusters” of rare goods to make trading runs worth upwards of 1.5M credits per round trip. And keep in mind that an empty cargo slot is worth up to 20k credits; make sure you have a full hold before you travel 140LY.

    A good, simple route is between the Lave and 39 Tauri clusters. My personal route makes the following stops, selling all goods at the first stop of each cluster:

    Cluster 1: Orrere -> Lave -> Leesti -> Diso.
    Cluster 2: Wolf 1301 -> Fujin -> 39 Tauri -> George Pantazis.

    If you have a small cargo capacity, like on the Sidewinder or Adder, you could likely get away with just going back and forth between Leesti and Fujin, with an occasional stop in 39 Tauri if Fujin doesn’t have enough to fill your cargo bay.

  • When plotting routes in the galaxy map, switch to Fastest Route mode. It uses a “depth-first” search, rather than breadth-first, and can easily plot routes out to 60LY in 15-20 seconds, compared to 30-45 seconds for the same route in “Most Economical”. You’ll expend more fuel, but the time saved in making fewer jumps is easily worth it when you can make more trade runs and more profit.

  • Having a fuel scoop is a great way to save both money and time when making several long-range journies, such as when hauling rare goods. Having the scoop means trading a few moments sitting near the star after jumping in, rather than several minutes traveling to the nearest station and docking every time you start running low. I personally find the 2B rated scoop to have the best price-to-speed ratio for any ship up to the Type 7. Scoop fuel while plotting routes to save even more time.

  • Class D thrusters are faster than class C for any ship, other than the Viper. They are also lighter and cheaper, making class C thrusters strictly inferior options. 1

  • When trying to maximize jump range, class D equipment weighs significantly less than any other class rating. Conversely, class B equipment weighs the most of all class ratings, and should generally be avoided. The FSD is the only piece of equipment where every single class level is a clear win over the previous rating in terms of jump range.

  • When getting interdicted, there is almost no upside to fighting it. Reduce throttle to idle, and “submit” to the interdiction. You will prevent any hull damage from “losing” the interdiction, and your FSD cooldown will only be 10 seconds, instead of 40, meaning you’ll have a far better chance of escaping back into supercruise than if you’d fought and lost.

  • The fastest path to a station is not a straight line. By “looping” around the target at full throttle, you can slow down without overshooting. Combining this with a well-timed dive into the gravity well will bleed off the remaining speed and allow you to slow down to under 1Mm/s shortly before reaching the 1000km disengage distance. 2