Now we do it for real…

There are a number of starting options in the game X4: Foundations and its currently available DLC’s. However, the general advice from seasoned X’ers to new players is to choose the Young Gun start. This is because it doesn’t push you in a certain direction of gameplay. There are other starts that lean towards trade, exploration, combat and research. Beginning with the premise that Young Gun is just a ‘play it your way’, it comes as a little bit of a surprise when you find one of your first missions is to help with a scientific experiment. I have taken that mission and carried out the first 2 elements of it – of which, more in a moment.

You start out in an Argon system with a basic ship – an Elite Vanguard. Having flown it, I can say that it’s possibly better than the Sidewinder you get in Elite but that’s marginal! It’s definitely nowhere near the wonderful Cobra mkIII 😜 But the ships of different games do not really bear comparison because the challenges are different. So far, since starting a serious play through, I have yet to get shot at – In Elite I’d have been fighting for my life just a couple of trips into the game! Staying briefly with comparisons and going down that road for the last time in this series – The graphics of X4 are very good but they’re not to the Elite standard. That is something that fans of this series acknowledge, so I’m not talking out of turn. Here’s that first ship waiting for me to take her out into space…

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I mentioned the Argon – A quick look into the Lore of the game tells me that they were originally Terran but were seperated from Earth in a war many centuries ago – so I guess we’re ‘Human’ even if my fellow Argonites don’t recognise that as being the case. I spent a bit of time exploring the local area, collecting crystals and killing criminals. This boosted my standing a bit with the Argon. Then I took that first scientific mission.

This mission bounces you into different sector of space where you will meet another species – The Teladi. Both the Argon and the Teladi are initially neutral and you can build your reputation by trading with them or killing their enemies – which includes criminals around their stations. As an aside, the Terran Protectorate are Hostile! – Humans hating on Humans – Who’dve thought it? But I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere near their space at this early stage😅 The Teladi are reptilian in appearance – here’s one of their maintenance people kindly washing some space dust off my ship…

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It was after I’d carried out the first two requirements of that scientific mission that the game advised me to ease off, earn some cash and build some standing as there was no rush to complete the project. Never had that in a game before😕 So I went out, killed some more criminals and did some more crystal hunting. Finding crystals is easy if you understand what to look for. You can find tuition videos that cover this but all I can give you is a screenshot and try to explain…

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…The crystals reflect light – So if you watch carefully, you will see the occasional flash of light from an asteroid. You’ll need to open up the image above to see but, if you look slightly right of centre and slightly above the centreline, there is a white starburst on the edge of an asteroid – that’s a clear indication of the presence of crystals which you can dislodge with your lazer and collect. Some of them are worth a very large amount of credits!

By now you may be finding this post a bit confused and chaotic – Rest assured, that is how the game feels to me at the moment. It’s one huge learning curve and lacking in structure but I will say it’s fun😎 👍‍ I’ve made my way back to my starting point via a Super Highway…

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…and a Jump Gate…

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As for those naughty criminal types, I’ve left some wrecks in my wake…

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Finally – there’s that warm glow when you get to sell off your crystal colection…

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… that’s me over Cr1M in the bank!!! 😃

To close, there are some wonderful sights to enjoy in this game…

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…and a lot of fun to be had. But currently I’m not sure if it’s going to become as dangerous out there as Elite can be. I suspect I will find out as I expand my operations 😎👍‍

An addition to stock for my Elite: Dangerous fleet – The Imperial Courier…

I had been contemplating one of these vessels since I achieved the required rank in the Empire but there were always challenges that I set myself that called for different ships at the time. Now, finally, I need again a fast ship to carry messages and light cargoes on behalf of the Empire. That ship has to also be good in the field of battle as befits a ship of the empire… And she is! I have named her ‘God Speed’ for, as any Imperial Citizen will tell you, the Emperor is God and it is right that I request that our Emperor grant my ship speed as she goes about her duties on behalf of the Imperial Society and in the Emperor’s service.
God Speed departing Rich Orbital

All Hail to our Emperor, Arissa Lavigny Duval – Bask in Her Glory!

With the release of the Horizon’s season of Elite Dangerous came the introduction of a couple of new ships. One of these, the Viper MkIV was available to everyone. The other was the Cobra MkIV and that ship was limited to existing Elite Dangerous pilots when they pre-ordered Horizons; so there is a certain exclusivity to the ship. That exclusiveness became much more pronounced when the pilots who tried it out in the Beta reported that it was slow, unresponsive and generally not worth the pixels it was drawn with. That should have been enough to put most people off!

The issues with the Cobra MkIV start with its predecessor, the Cobra MkIII. When you have a ship that is widely recognised as one of the best ships in the game then there is a natural assumption that the next vessel to bear the name will be even better. The MkIII is very manoeuvrable with a fast rate of pitch and roll though the yaw rate is poor. Any limitation in combat that lack of yaw may bring is more than made up for by a blistering turn of speed – the MkIII is the fastest thing out there bar none! Depending on how you configure the ship it can boost to 435ms in normal flight. Even as delivered from Faulcon Delacy’s workshops it will get to 402ms – no wonder everything else seems sluggish 😉 But the most important aspect of the MkIII is its flexibility. It is a truly multirole vessel capable of skirmishing with true fighters; shifting light to medium cargoes over long distances; exploring beyond human space. There is nothing it can’t do and I suspect the only thing it can’t do well is mining! Its only real limitation is size – it can’t shift huge cargoes which perhaps is a trading limitation. The final thing that makes the Cobra MkIII outstanding is its price – around 360KCr prior to any upgrades you choose to buy… That’s cheap: The next genuine multirole vessel is the Asp Explorer and that ship will set you back over 6MCr before you start upgrading it! I hope you can see why the Cobra MkIV had impossible shoes to fill?

With the new ability to land on planets delivered by Horizons I was looking for a ship that would be a good choice for that activity. I run on the cheap… Lots of CMDR’s out there with mega-Credits but I’m not one of them. I looked at the relative costs of ships within my budget that might be suitable candidates. It came down to the Lakon T6, Keelback, or the Faulcon Cobra MkIV. The T6 is a Trade specialist and its very good at that – it’s also a nice easy target for pirates. The Keelback is tougher and designed to land on planets, but that comes with a price. Sitting between them is the Cobra MkIV. When I weighed up the price for initial purchase and for the upgrades needed to get what I felt I wanted, it had to be the Cobra IV. I’ve now had quite a few hours of experience with the ship and it’s time to talk about my feelings.

Lets start with the negatives… This ship is slow! I’ve seen my Budgies flying backwards and they’re faster!!! The yaw is probably a little worse than on the MkIII Cobra. The roll is not bad but the pitch is much slower. So we have something resembling a duck wallowing around in space. This is not a ship you want to be doing combat with. And I think that sums up the main complaint of the early-doors naysayers. With that understanding you choose your weapons carefully – I’ve gone for 3x Class 1 Beam Lasers and 2x Class 2 Multi-Cannons; all gimballed to make up for the lack of manoeuvrability. That set up works well against most small ships and is pretty good on larger ones – until you meet a Federal Assault Ship (you’ll never get it in your sights)! You do need to be aware of the power draw – short bursts of the beam lasers only please! But I also feel that this ship is a bit tougher physically than the MkIII – so you can stay a little longer after the shields are down.

So, it’s not a fighter but can do reasonably well at defending itself. What about other roles? Exploring is probably not worthwhile – the jump range is too low. That said; in Human Space it’s probably a good option for planetary exploration. You can fit a double vehicle bay and still have 48t of cargo space available. I’ve been playing around with planet missions with this ship and it’s a joy to fly in and out. There are times when having a stable platform is a really good thing and planetary landings allow this ship to shine. It is a ship that just fits into a small landing pad and that reflects when you’re looking for a place to set down in a crater – larger ships might struggle to find good terrain! Ironically, it has been a lot easier to find rough terrain landing spots in this ship than in my Diamondback Explorer – and that is a measure of how good a planet landing specialist it can be.

Now here’s a shock… It can be a good wing-man for an agile large vessel. I had the pleasure of joining one of my friends in a mission to wipe out pirates in a HiRes – that’s High Risk Resource Extraction Site. He has a Corvette and a lot of experience in this sort of work. Me, I generally find my own way around and don’t normally go anywhere near a HiRes site. It was brave of him to invite me along. I even shot him once – fortunately with minimal damage to his shields! 😉 This unearthed one virtue of the Cobra IV – as a wingman it can burn shields off the opponent really well, leaving the wing-leader to carry out the final kill effectively. We did that on numerous occasions and walked away with a fortune in bounties. On one occasion we were in conflict with a Federal Assault Ship that had 4 Sidewinders as escort. The Sidewinders chose to pick my Cobra IV as their target and I wiped 3 of them before my Corvette colleague took out the last and we returned to killing the FAS. So there’s a combat role as a wing-man for the Cobra IV – it has the ability.

Summing up – I think this ship is a good low price trader and mission specialist with very good planet landing abilities.  I also believe, based on other people’s opinions, that it could be a very good mining vessel – something that the Cobra III never was.    It is not the multi-role that the Cobra III is. But then, how many of the other ships in the Elite shipyard are perfect… None I suspect 😉 Cobra MkIV is a much misunderstood ship. Find the balance that suits the style of play you want and I think you’ll be a happy pilot. I’m keeping mine… Let me introduce you to Dark of Night…

Dark of Night on Wuluwait B1

Dark of Night departing Bruce's Folly, Maiden System