Among the changes to missions in the latest release of Elite: Dangerous, was the introduction of long range missions beyond the adjacent systems. Depending on the cargo and risk some of these pay very well. Another change was the introduction of Salvage Missions. Before these missions were introduced, any cargo containers collected at wreck sites were classified as Illicit cargo and would result in a fine if you were scanned by a law enforcement vessel. Additionally, you needed to get to a station with a Black Market in order to sell them. So how do these new salvage missions work?
Missions are collected from the Bulletin Board at the starport. A Salvage mission will usually ask you to retrieve a number of containers of a specified cargo from a nearby system – in return for which you will be paid a number of credits. An example that I recently did from the Medzoijin system was offering Cr23200 for collecting 1 container of encrypted data from the neighbouring system. That’s a reasonable payment given that the goods are worth around Cr450 per container. So, with the mission in hand and another courier mission to the same system taken to cover fuel costs, I set off for Ceti 79. Courier missions are usually urgent with times in minutes rather than hours so I dropped off the paperwork as soon after getting to the system as I could. Then the search for wrecks began.
Before this latest upgrade to Elite: Dangerous there were three types of signal sources: –
• Weak Signal Source (WSS – usually loose containers of cargo and wreckage but sometimes ships running on silent)
• Unidentified Signal Source (USS – small numbers of ships ranging from Convoys to Pirates and System Authority Vessels having a punch-up)
• Strong Signal Source (SSS – also known as a YWD – You Will Die – a hot spot of very well armed and murderous Pirates)
Now we have the SW – Salvageable Wreckage as an additional signal source. So when you have a salvage mission, these are the signal sources you are interested in. As an aside, if you don’t have a salvage mission then picking up any containers you might find here is no different to picking up containers from a WSS site – Illegal!
I drop down to the first SW site I find and there are 2 containers of encrypted data – I scoop them both. Here’s an important point about Salvage Missions – they usually carry the wording Open Salvage. You may only need 1 container of the commodity to complete the mission but you are licensed to salvage as much as you find. The result is that a Salvage Mission is usually worth more than the offered payment because you can sell legal salvage through the normal commodities market at any station that has one!
So, in the system where you effectively have a salvage license the trick is to travel along the trade routes looking for the SW sites. One thing to remember though… Ships don’t usually explode without reason. While you’re looking for the wrecks, the Pirates who killed those traders are looking for their next victim! During my hunt for wrecks in Ceti 79 I was interdicted by Pirates twice which netted me a further Cr54000 in bounties.
Sometimes at wreck sites you will find a different cargo. Leave it – you are not licensed to salvage that one and it will be treated as Illicit! At a couple of wreck sites I found Occupied Escape Pods. You might think that you should pick these up, after all, if a vessel at sea finds a lifeboat adrift it is considered the duty of the ship’s captain to rescue the unfortunates in that lifeboat. Apparently the old courtesies of the ocean do not extend into space – you pick up an escape pod in a public spirited act of compassion towards a fellow commander whose vessel has been shot from under him and you immediately find that you have illicit cargo aboard! 😦 I think that’s something that needs addressing within the design of the game.
Anyway, back to my mission example. I salvaged 17 containers of encrypted data – each of the 16 additional containers bringing in Cr462. All told, with the bounties, original payment and the sale of the additional goods, the value of the mission came out to around Cr84000. Not a bad earner for a low risk job 🙂