The main focus of my Elite Dangerous gaming for over a month now has been the trip out to Colonia.
For a bit of background, in game Jaques Station attempted a jump across the galaxy but went missing. It was discovered near to the galactic core, for the first time giving explorers in that region a home base. Various community goals followed to repair the station, and eventually start expanding outwards. New platforms, planetary bases and eventually other full starports were established and a new bubble of humanity was formed, away from the main focus of the game, and providing explorers with a new home base much closer to the galactic core.
The galactic core with its greater star density was always something I’d wanted to visit, and I’ve had a few aborted trips previously but still wanted to make the trip, although I was very aware to do so would be a big investment. 22000+ light it years travel in the game takes a lot of jumping to accomplish.
With 2.4 The Return on the horizon, I decided this presented an opportunity to try and do the trip before it launches. At time of writing I have finally made it to Colonia, which felt like a major achievement by the end of the trip. Make no mistake, getting out there is a slog. Netflix or some DVDs are a must have, as you’ll need the distraction from the sheer repetition of scanning, fuel scooping and then making the next jump and doing it all over again. Fortunately there’s been a few other distractions.
For my trip, I’ve of course taken my trusty Asp Explorer. While I’ve engineered some of the ship, it’s by no means an optimised build, coming in around the 35ly jump range, which is a good way off the 50+ly some player can get with extensive engineering. Its still decent enough though, and I plotted a route using the so-called Colonia Connection Highway. A set of planetary bases established via community goals to help break up the trip and provide repairs. Frontier were also sensible enough to put these bases by some fairly pretty nebulae, so while its not the most direct route to Colonia, its still well worth doing. They also seeded a Guardian site near to one of the bases, so it also makes sense that in providing this trip to Colonia they’ve also taken the opportunity to seed some content further out from the main game in some interesting locations. I uploaded a brief trip around these Guardian sites to Youtube during my travels.
While the trip was undoubtedly hard work, and admittedly kind of burned me out, its still well worth doing for anyone who fancies themselves an explorer and looking for a challenge. The bases provide a good way to break things up, and some of the views are fantastic. For myself, I had originally thought of heading on to Sag-A at the centre of the galaxy, but the truth is that while it’d make a degree of sense to do so while I’m out here, I suspect I’ll probably end up going back to the bubble, using the self-destruct method to save the trip. Its great to have been able to check this box on my Elite bucket list, and the sites are amazing. But as the location is so distant, it really is just for the explorers at the moment, and the majority of content is still rightly focused on the main bubble. With the imminent arrival of the Thargoids and patch 2.4 the reasons to stay out at Colonia (other than avoiding certain doom by alien death rays) are going to be pretty slim.
For now though, I’ve stayed and do intend to travel around a little up until 2.4 comes along. I have managed to do some passenger missions and see some of the other stations and platforms in the region, but it is slim pickings, with most of the missions simply being a delivery to Jaques Station itself, whereas I’d hoped for some interesting tourist missions to see some of the sights.
For those that have stuck pretty firmly to the bubble though, the increased star density really is something worth seeing.