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 Veteran Pilot Roles guide is the next step for those who are restless with doing only one or two things in Elite: Dangerous. I’ll go over the veteran roles by further multiclassing the basic roles and adding some definition to them to explain what these roles do. I’m forgoing the equipment breakdown because by the time you reach these roles, you will have a good feel of the equipment in this game and what you’ll want to use for these roles. Instead I’ll give some ship buildout ideas. 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 or roles of your own, 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
|credit: SpyTec from the Elite: Dangerous Wiki|
You’ve been through a lot, and took on many roles in your years of piloting. You’re not ready to hang up the flight suit just yet because you can get paid for your knowledge. The role of a mercenary is a wide one, where you take on the highest bidders work, not matter what it is. Getting the job done and getting paid is all you’re concerned about at the end of the day.
Multiclass: The Mercenary is a mix of FIGHTER, EXPLORER, and MINER. You tend to stick around stations and checking the job board for what needs doing and then doing it. Simple as that and you are equipped to do it, either with a single ship or multiple ships specced for special roles.
Places to go: The best place for you to look for are systems with a bunch of space stations. That way you have plenty of jobs to pick and choose from. Find a good system or small cluster of systems that could use your expertise and plant yourself with your ship, or fleet of ships to get the job done.
Ship buildout: A good ship buildout for mercenaries would be the Diamondback Scout. It has a high manoeuvrability, can hold two small and two medium weapon hardpoints and 4 utility mounts. It has room for a good size cargo space for mining. It gives you room to put on a couple of dependable weapons for defense like two small gimballed pulse lasers. A high quality power distributor and 3 or 4 pips of power going to weapons will ensure you rarely run out of shooting power. That leaves room for one or two stronger medium weapons. A fixed cannon will be a good choice when you get their shields down, or gimballed multi-cannon. Double up on those, or throw on a mining laser in one of the medium slots. That can be the cheapest one because you can only collect ore so fast anyways even with a collector limpet. For utility slots, I suggest a chaff launcher since many of the enemies use gimballed weapons. This will help you when being shot at by multiple enemies. Throw on a strong shield booster, not too many because they also extend the time it takes to get shields back. For the explorer part of the build, look into a kill warrant scanner. When you are out looking to take on pirates or doing some assassination, you can use it to see if they are wanted in other systems for a bounty.
|credit: Nukeguard from the Elite: Dangerous Wiki|
You’re time is spent amongst the stars. You only stay on stations when you have something to unload or stock up on, otherwise you like floating out in space. The sites are why you pilot the galaxy, finding breathtaking views and sharing them with others.
Multiclass: The Voyager is a mix of FIGHTER, EXPLORER, and TRADER. You like taking long distance trips to see the sights and moving along some cargo to pay for the gas or damage done by pirates.
Places to go: Space is your destination, it’s also your journey and your starting point. As vague as that sounds, that’s pretty much where the voyager needs to go. Get a job to move some cargo to a system that’s many jumps away if you can, and make sure to click on the most economical route as that’ll be the closes thing to a scenic route.
Ship buildout: The Diamondback Explorer is a good go-to ship for exploration. It has good room for cargo, and a great unladen (no cargo and low weight) jump range when upgraded. You also have two medium hardpoints and a large hardpoint for protection if you need it. I’d look for two dependable weapons for the medium hardpoints. Remember, you can also go with small weapons as well to fit on larger hardpoints, it’ll save on weight and use less power. Either pulse lasers or multi-cannons will be good choices. The large hardpoint wouldn’t be necessary as that’s extra weight, but if you did want to go loud with some big guns, I suggest a missile rack for authority and a show of dominance, or better yet, a mine launcher for pirates that won’t give up the chase. Traveling light is good for ship’s that want to get better gas per lightyear so I wouldn’t bog myself down with utility mounts. Upgrade to a good frame shift drive and possibly get a fuel scoop if you’d rather not land too often. Since you’ll be amongst the stars, get a discovery scanner and pick up some data along the way for some extra credits.
|credit: James Razor from the Elite: Dangerous Wiki|
You are a person of power. People, like you, like to rule over others, controlling resource and making power plays. You control the trade routes and have no problem guarding it. Trade is what brings you money, and money is how you conduct your wars.
Multiclass: The Warlord is a mix of FIGHTER, MINER, and TRADER. Resources are where you get your money, collecting from metal rich or metallic asteroids and selling them on the market. You’re no pushover miner, though, and can show your dominance against armed pirates who may mistake you for an easy target.
Places to go: Search around for a system or two close together that has a some metal rich and/or metallic asteroid clusters or planetary rings. These have rare resources that are sought after on the open market in a high tech or tourism system.
Ship buildout: I would suggest the Python, but I have no experience with the ship yet. The stats on it look good for this kind of role; shields, armor, hardpoints, and internals. Something closer to a starting budget would be the Asp. It has good shields and armor, lots of internals for cargo space and 4 small and 2 medium hardpoints for lots of firepower. If you need to, carry a discovery scanner to look for a good system or two or check around known systems for metal rich or metallic asteroid or planetary rings. Once you find it, drop the scanner for more cargo space. You’ll need a mining laser on one of the hardpoints, suggest a small, and take some collector limpets to save yourself a lot of time and trouble. Take along a big enough refinery that has 4 or 5 bins and then arm yourself. My go-to weapon is the pulse laser. It’s dependable and cost no ammo, just needs a high end power distributor. But you should be collecting plenty of money from the rare ore that you can probably go with multi-cannons. Then load up two hard hitting weapons in the 2 medium slots. If you don’t want to pay for fuel, you can sacrifice one of your internals for a fuel scoop.
|credit: DNYI from the Elite: Dangerous Wiki|
You’re not a trader, you’re the trader. You deal in everything, from minerals and metals, to illegal goods and even information. You are one of the few known only as the Broker. Your services aren’t cheap and the rich or desperate know that. You know the economy, you know the politics, and you know their secrets.
Multiclass: The Broker is a mix of EXPLORER, MINER, and TRADER. Fighting isn’t your style, that’s for the hired help to deal with. You pay attention to what matters, and that’s how to make money. You like collecting rare metals and minerals, illegal goods, and information that you can sell.
Places to go: You’re always on the move, looking to collect something. Finding metal rich or metallic asteroids and planetary rings are good targets to look out for. You’ll also come across salvageable wreckage along the way that has illegal goods floating around to sell on the black market. And lastly, going from station to station to find jobs that want you to move goods or information around.
Ship buildout: The Type-6 and 7 Transporter or Type-9 Heavy are going to be your go-to ships. I’ll build out the Type-7 Transporter. These ships move slow, so you’ll want to find turret weapons to put on these babies. Either a couple of pulse laser or multi-cannons. You’ll need one hardpoint for the mining laser, and the last one for another turret or a mine launcher. Might also want to use the 4 utility mounts for some shield boosters, chaff launchers and possibly heat sink launcher or point defense turret. You can hold a lot of room in one of these babies, so use the largest compartments for cargo space and the smaller ones for things like a fuel scoop, refinery, and discovery / surface scanner. If you can, find some friends to help escort you around when you are making runs with a lot of cargo. Lastly, don’t forget collector limpets when you go out mining.
|credit: TopoSolitario from the Elite: Dangerous Wiki|
This is the most diverse of all the roles you can play. Short for Jack-of-all-trades Pilot. This pilot likes to do everything. From joining war efforts, to making trade runes, to scanning unexplored systems and even dealing with illegal goods. The Jack Pilot does it all.
Multiclass: The Jack Pilot is a mix of all four roles; FIGHTER, EXPLORER, MINER, and TRADER. You do everything because one activity is fun for a little while, but then you want to do something else and don’t want to be boxed into just a few options.
Places to go: Everywhere. Seriously, the jack pilot doesn’t like to stay in one spot for long. There’s an entire galaxy to visit and you only stay in a system long enough to view the sites and take part in some activities. You rarely, if ever, will work up a local faction to reach the highest jobs. You may stick to one major faction, but that isn’t guaranteed either. You’ll check out all the different signal sources you feel like stopping at and look around for anything new to do.
Ship buildout: Being a jack pilot will be hard, because you only have so much room and so many ships to choose from. My best suggestion would be a well rounded ship, either going with the Cobra or going with the larger ships like the Python or Anaconda. Sticking with the Cobra because it’s a good mid-ways ship and average stats all the way down. It has enough room for defenses, cargo space, scanners, fuel scoop and a refinery. You’ll not have enough for all the scanners, but you should be able to get the more important kill warrant and frame shift wake scanners to fill a more diverse role in the utility mounts. The mining laser will need to take up either a small or medium hardpoint, leaving you room for two dependable weapons, and a special weapon. Being a jack pilot, you’ll probably be constantly switching those out to try new combos. There’s room for a fuel scoop, refinery, discovery scanner, cargo space, and two other compartment items you can play around with. Look through the selection to see what helps you fulfill a more diverse role.
Pilot Role Conclusion
I hope you enjoyed these three pilot role guides, they were fun to make. Larger ships and hardpoints are a bit outside my familiarity, but I did the best I could with the resources out there. I do know they tend to have more issues with heat so a good heat sink launcher may be needed when you go big. If you find success using these or have come up with some roles of your own, let me know about them. I’d be interested at what others have come up with.
Remember - I am Elite: Dorkus and you can too!
Elite: Dangerous - Beginner’s Guide List