If you are like me, then you may have been lost or overwhelmed with what you can do in Elite: Dangerous. You may have a good idea of what you’d like to do, or just interested in seeing what all E:D can offer, but not ready to commit to something just yet. E:D is a very open game that doesn’t want to box you in, so you are free to do what you want. This can lead to decision paralysis, so I hope to help clear this up with my series of Elite: Dangerous Beginner’s Guide.
The Advance Pilot Roles guide will give you structure in a game that has none to help you decide what role you want to play. I’ll go over the advance roles by multiclassing the basic roles and add some definition to them to explain what these roles do. The first rule of this guide is that it’s completely subjective. You can change the role as you see fit (I encourage you to do so) and come up with your own ideas for these roles, but this guide is made to get you started. You can check out the rest of the guides at the bottom, new ones will be added when they’re finished.
Advance Pilot Roles
Justice is your name, and getting paid is your game. You’re not the one who starts trouble, but ends it. The galaxy is filled with pirates and wanted pilots that gives a bounty hunter like yourself plenty to do.
Multiclass: The Bounty Hunter is a mix between a FIGHTER and EXPLORER. You have to be built to take down some pretty tough foes, but you have to find them first.
Places to go: Pretty much anywhere in habited space. Pirates are ruthless and will attack anyone with valuables, so look for any type of signal source - which are unidentified, weak, and strong. Once you take down the wanted pilot(s), collect your reward at the local starport. You can also look for specific named bounty contracts in starports.
Equipment: The equipment you will focus on are ships and scanners. As a bounty hunter, equipment is everything. You’ll need to find a ship that fits you, either something that packs a punch, can soak up damage, or lets you move freely around the battlefield. You’ll also need to be able to find your targets, so a frame shift wake scanner will let you catch anyone who cowers from you. Also, a kill warrant scanner helps the patient bounty hunters gain a larger reward. A good bounty hunter ship is the Viper because it boasts a good balance between fighting and utility.
|credit: Frontier store Eagle Pirate skin|
Rules and work are for honest folk. You’re practical and a quick credits are the best kind. Why break your back to scrape a little profit off the top when you can eat the whole pie yourself. You are the wolf and you take what you want from the herd.
Multiclass: The Pirate is a mix between FIGHTER and MINER. Smash and grab are your tactics. No need to kill the enemy when you can weaken them and force them to eject their cargo, or use tools to eject it for you. Then use collector limpets to sweep it all up and get the heck out of there.
Places to go: You’ll want to stay away from authority ships unless you have a plan or strategy first. As a pirate, you want easy pickings so asteroid fields, or weak/unknown signal sources. You ought to find miners with some haul or merchants with supplies. You can also take matters into your own hand and invest in interdictors and choose your own ships you wish to... lighten the load of. Another place to keep track of are black markets, they will take hot items off your hand.
Equipment: The equipment you will focus on are cheap ships, cargo scanners and limpets. As a pirate, you need to be able to move quickly and cheaply because your luck will run out eventually and you’ll need to quickly replace what you’ve lost. You’ll also need to know what you’re stealing so you can increase your pay. Look into cargo scanners so you can check who has what and make your decisions from there. Collector limpets are very useful to deploy when your target has jettisoned their cargo. You can quickly collect what they misplaced and get out of there before any authority ships arrive. Interdictors are useful for the discerning pirate. Check what a passing ship may have and if the haul looks good, knock them out of supercruise to have a one-on-one with them. Cheap ships are good for pirates so you can quickly replace what you’ve lost and not worry if and when you bite off more than you can chew. A good pirate ship will be on the lines of the starting Sidewinder or the Eagle. You don’t need large strong ships since your targets are ones that can hardly defend themselves. After you get a feel for the life of a pirate, you'll want to upgrade to a hardier ship to have better protection, take on stronger targets, and haul more loot away. Good ships to upgrade to are the Adder and the Cobra.
Space is huge, which is nice for people like you that want to stay away from too many questions. You are an entrepreneur of sorts, one that doesn’t let a thing like laws and regulation get in the way of getting people what they want. People need stuff, and sometimes that stuff isn’t allowed, so people pay a good sum for your services to get it for them.
Multiclass: The Smuggler is a mix between FIGHTER and TRADER. Combat is something you’d like to avoid, but sometimes it pays to be able to take a hit when you’re cornered. You’ll want to be able to carry what you need to where you’re going in the quickest way possible. The longer you hold your goods, the longer you risk being caught with them.
Places to go: You don’t hail from a single system, but you want to stick to a cluster to raise faction and get access to higher paying jobs. Space stations are good starting points to find jobs to smuggle goods to another station. Some jobs require you to go out and find the goods first, which will usually be found at unknown signal sources at the system the job points you to. When taking the job, or before taking it, check to see the station they want you to deliver to. An outpost will be the easiest station to land on with rarely any authority ships scanning. Stick to these when first starting out. Ocellus and Orbis stations are a little more difficult to slip into while Coriolis stations are the toughest to enter without being scanned. If you get a little bored, you can always launch out and look for salvageable wreckage for some salvage to take back to the nearest black market.
Equipment: The equipment you will focus on are medium sized ships with good cargo space and fast engines. Any good smuggler needs cargo space, but you don’t want to be overloaded with too much cargo because you need to be quick when slipping past authority ships. You’ll also want to look into utility hardpoints that’ll make your life a little easier like the heat sink launcher. This little baby will let you run silent so ships will not be able to find you to scan. A couple of good ship choices to smuggle in are the Viper and the Diamondback Scout. The Viper is cheaper making it quick to get to start smuggling, but the Diamondback Scout has just about better everything if you can save up to or switch to it later.
You have what people need, or you can get them what they want. All for a price, of course. You trade in both goods and information, which gives you power. You play the long game because you know that quick credits are for quick thrills and controlled by the market whereas you’d rather control the market.
Multiclass: The Dealer is a mix between EXPLORER and TRADER. Information is just as valuable, if not more, than material goods. You like to spread it for a price, but you can also take advantage of it and supply goods as well. After all, information doesn’t take up cargo space, so why not fill that up with something else on the way.
Places to go: A dealer feels at home near conflict areas, where information and supplies are needed most. A nice cluster of systems that have civil war or trying to expand will maximize your profit and thus your power over them. Check in Space stations for jobs where they want to spread the word, or if systems are in dire need of supplies. If you can find jobs leading you to the same system is far more efficient. If they need some supplies, take the job and fill the rest of your cargo space with that same supply, because you can sell the access on the market for profit. Or you can study the system and station to see if there might be something else they need as well that’ll give you a higher profit margin.
Equipment:The equipment you will focus on are ships with cargo space, discovery scanners, and longer distance frame shift drives. You’ll be doing a lot of traveling and making some long distance jumps. Cargo space is also important because that is more supplies you can haul to systems that’ll pay a lot for them. In down times, or along the way, you may find yourself in an unexplored system and a discovery scanner will let you gather information about it. That’s even more profit for you, but you’ll need to take it to a system at least 20 light years away. With all the traveling you’ll do, that won’t take long. Some good ships to look into this line of work are the Hauler and the Adder. Both are cheap, hold lots of cargo and have good long-distance jump ranges.
|credit: Warhawker from Elite: Dangerous Wiki|
Recording where you’ve been and what’s out there is what you do. Going to unknown space recording star, planet and asteroid compositions are what you love doing. Miners and traders depend on this information you bring back, so you get well paid for your effort. The more in depth the information, the better.
Multiclass: The Surveyor is a mix between EXPLORER and MINER. They explore systems and scan planets for what type they are. This information is then sold to a system 20 light years away from that system at a reasonably good profit, depending what kind of planets or star(s) are there. Rarer planet and star types fetch the higher price. A surveyor also can take samples of ore they find at asteroid clusters or rings around planets and sell that to the nearest market.
Places to go: Unexplored systems are where you want to look around for. They aren’t indicated on the map, so you’ll have to jump around to systems that look like they are not explored by you yet. Systems with names like Lave will most likely not need scanning, but something like LT-11468 is a good place to start. Once you show up, check out the sun. If it says unexplored then you can scan the system to your heart's content. As for mining, asteroid clusters or rings around planets that say metal rich or metallic will wield rarer, more expensive metals and minerals. When you find them, go ahead and fill up.
Equipment: The equipment you will focus on are cargo space, frame shift drives, discovery scanners, and collector limpets. Surveyors will want to look into getting the advanced discovery scanner as that’ll make your job far easier since they reveal all the stars and planets of a system to you in one scan so you don’t miss out on scanning a planet. The scanner is expensive, but worth it. Once the planets and stars are revealed, fly up to them to scan them. Getting a detailed surface scanner will increase your profits from scanned planets as well. If you plan on getting ore samples as well, you’ll need a mining laser (the cheapest is really all you need), a good refinery (something with 2-3 bins will be good), and of course, some cargo space. The Adder will be a good ship for those looking to specialize more on the exploring part of the Surveyor, while the Type-6 Transporter will be for those looking to do more mining.
|credit: TopoSolitario from Elite: Dangerous Wiki|
You’re not looking for a fight, you just are looking to pick up what other’s have left behind. Sometimes scooping in and grabbing the jettisoned cargo of a trader or hauler while they are being chased around by pirates is what you have to do, just remember to get out of there quickly. You may just want easier pickings and fly close to miners then scoop the ore they are collecting before they get it. You’re not concerned of ownership because possession is what’s key when selling it to a market.
Multiclass: The Scavenger is a mix between MINER and TRADER. They tend to have cargo and collecting limpets as their tools of trade. They pick off the scraps or swoop in and grab the good stuff while getting out of there quickly.
Places to go: Scavengers will usually hang around where pirates or miners are as either will have loose stuff flying around for you to grab and dash. Check for weak or unknown source signals for possible pirate activities. As long as you have nothing of value yet, pirates will leave you mostly alone, but once you start grabbing, get out of there quick. Also check around asteroid clusters or rings for resource extraction sites for miners. Fly in close and throw out a collector limpet to try and grab the ore before they do. You can also look for salvageable wreckage while flying around. This will usually have some escape pods or data caches that you can take to a black market.
Equipment: A scavenger really doesn’t need much to get started. A quick maneuverable ship, cargo space, and some collector limpets. Mostly, you’ll just be traveling around looking for signal sources that could promise some loose items flying in space you can grab to sell. A good ship to get setup in could be the simple Sidewinder or the humble Adder. For those who wish to really play the role, saving up to the Vulture will really get you in the scavenging mood.
Remember - I am Elite: Dorkus and you can too!
Elite: Dangerous - Beginner’s Guide List