The Ordeal

Another Bizarro weekend come and gone, and I have only one thing to show for it: a new ship with a "Black Friday" paint job.
I have successfully swapped my Python for an Anaconda in Elite: Dangerous.  Three times as expensive, it is a very large ship.  I think the Anaconda is a lot more interesting to fly, thanks to having unlocked tons of slots to play with, leading to it being overwhelmingly viable on every conceivable front.  However, the variety of activities available to me is still not quite as good as the Python thanks wholly to the fact that not all locations have a large landing pad, closing off half the destinations of the universe to me.

Considering the high costs involved in its utilization, upgrading, and basic maintenance, I've christened the ship, "The Ordeal."  The placement of the cockpit high and towards the back reminds me of its size constantly, as well as giving me a good view of the two large hardpoints in action.  That's quite satisfying, and vindicates the Ordeal to earn and operate it.
The front view from my Anaconda shows that asteroids are probably below the bow... somewhere.
Though, to an extent, this vantage point does not make sense.  On a ship in the water, you place the pilot high in order to monitor the ship's position in relation to the land masses.  The pilothouse does not need to look down, as the water forms a 2D plane that is often visually opaque due to the reflection of the sun's rays.  However, on a vessel in the depths of space, this perspective serves only to monitor my ship, a giant surfboard beneath me, obscuring completely what it is most likely to run into.   But lets not be too concerned of realism in a game.  Here, the Anaconda's view just heightens the challenge and satisfaction of piloting it well.

Anyway, I have this ship now, and I think it might be worth discussing how.  Because, frankly, this isn't the most exciting game out there...
... and yet, I managed to play it for 200 hours.  How?

The short answer is, "sparingly."  I did not start playing this game a few months ago, I bought Elite: Dangerous when it was first released, almost three years ago.  Yet, only now am I reaching hour 200 of play.  That's because, at points, this game becomes a grind.  Being a repeat MMORPG burnout, I'm done with grinding.  Quite incredibly done, really.  Words cannot express how much I loathe grinding.

So what I have done is found ways to nullify the defuse the grind.  For example:
  • Variety - Don't just do the same thing, mix it up a bit.  In the case of Elite: Dangerous, I spaced out that last 40 million in the Python by doing a mix of mining, bounty hunting, passenger hauling missions, cargo hauling missions, a few sightseeing tour missions, a few supply requisition missions, and a black box recovery mission or two.
  • Drift - An artistic "drift" is a technique where you employ a random decision making mechanic to go places you will not normally go.  In  Elite: Dangerous, I knew that I could probably make more credits just mining or taking down the endless stream of pirates that spawn in resource collection sites, but that's too predictable, and would quickly get monotonous.  So I used the random contents of the mission board to mix things up a bit, forcing me to visit new places and do things I did not plan on doing.
  • Take Time Off - A game often feels more enjoyable to play if you approach it fresh after having left it for awhile.  I told myself to make only 5M credits a day, but I was having enough fun that I hung around and sometimes it turned out to be twice that.  If I had paced myself worse, it's possible I might have made more the first day, and then never wanted to play the game ever again.  However, you can be sure there will reach a point where every activity gets boring, and it is best to simply play something else.
A grind is defused by finding ways to have fun right now.  If you're not having any fun while playing, but believe you can find it by unlocking some McGuffin, then you have set yourself up for a miserable time.  That miserable time is the grind.  
So forget the McGuffin, place it as more of a distant future goal, it's not what you need.  You need to focus on the present and find ways to have fun right now.  If you simply can't, then go play something else for awhile, you've exhausted the potential for the game to entertain you.
My Python never looked as attractive as it did right before I had to sell it.
I really overdid it today, I must have played at least 10 hours.  I kept things fun, but only barely.  If I don't consciously put the breaks on, burnout is just around the corner.

It is just as well, as there's not a whole lot more left to the game.  About the only place to go from here is to upgrade the parts, a long and protracted grind made even moreso by the Engineers update.  The two larger ships than it are not necessarily upgrades, depending on what I want to do with them.

Granted, I do have a nice limited edition chrome skin waiting for the Imperial Cutter... well, getting that is quite the Ordeal, so the McGuffin can wait.


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