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Easier to answer this recent question in a post: It took me quite awhile to get up to my Type 7 transport, and almost as long to find my "perfect run" - and I pull in half a million per 2-system 14ly jump running Palladium and Bioreducing Lichens. I'm in enemy space, a ways outside the borders of Federation Territory and I get attacked sometimes just pulling into the space stations, but because I've basically put the current controlling faction in power with my trading, I'm allied with both stations and they love me (regardless of my Federation status) so all I have to do is get close to the station and it's defenses protect me. Out in space, I have every weapon station on the Type 7 outfitted with mine deploying units and an evasive maneuvers macro setup so I can "go defensive" and just toss out mines while being chased, spiraling and yawing in a hard to hit pattern and while awaiting my engine cooldown so I can jump back to warp and escape. I collect on average 30,000-60,000 credits in bounties this way every several hours of play (I don't always get attacked, and I don't always kill them with mines, but it happens). This is all on Solo-Play or Private W/Friends (like any sane person plays GTA: V online) as online ED is a world of DPS (damage per second) and you'll die before you realize you're under attack, after hours of no contact with any human players lulled into a false sense of security. Even at my level - military grade alloy armor and all! Thank goodness ships have insurance (never spend all of your cash!!!). This technique I refined for myself isn't for everyone, not everyone will find a 14 light year round trip cargo run like I did, often they have several legs and yield far less cash per run. Mining is less boring, but you'd want to have similar strategies ready for escape and survival while you tool around asteroid belts blasting rocks. Bounty hunting can be done pretty soon, the Cobra's and Viper's are plenty capable once properly outfitted with a setup you can get results with. Again, the insurance is key - you can get killed and save your ship with a good lesson learned, and you will - just keep a reserve amount of money equal to the insurance cost of your current ship and you can learn "what" you need to do a thing for yourself. Some weapons use physical ammo you purchase to restock, some use energy from the ship - some are fixed and some have turrets where you just need to have the enemy in their arc of fire, all you do is maneuver your ship; others are rapid fire, others are single shot, high damage, long reload cannons - it's best to try a few out, and see what style fits you and your ship best. Personally, I use turrets and turn off my flight assist mid flight often, it's a space ship and it can turn around while still traveling in one direction so you can turn on someone chasing you while still flying away from them (if you toggle the flight assist off). All of these things will make similar cash per hour if done properly, my friend Raven prefers bounty hunting as it's the most active and action packed and he's quite good at it; he's now afforded a top tier ship just a few months ago. Exploring can also bring in good cash when done properly, but you don't get the payoff until the end, and if you die AFAIK you lose your exploration computer data hence all the potential money for selling system data is gone, even if your ship is replaced via insurance. For starting out, there are missions that space stations and bases have from various factions from running supplies to hunting down ships. I'd stay away from hunting to start and run cargo or go on mining missions. You should be more concerned with the damage you can take versus the damage you can deal if you go this route to start - put a little of the money you make into your Sidewinder, they can be sold back for equal money (you don't lose money buying and selling back ship parts) but you do lose money if you don't sell off all the non-stock parts you buy for a ship before you sell the ship itself. Make your first money on faction missions, put it into your shields or hull, extra cargo containers and your engines if you're running cargo/mining, or into your guns & Warrant Scanner & FSD Interdictor and shields or hull if you're taking bounty missions. Remember, with a Warrant Scanner, you can just fly around and scan ships, and even if you don't have a specific mission to collect that bounty, you can take them out of "warp" with a Frame Shift Drive Interdictor, kill them if you can and collect the bounty yourself. Raven used to sit in jump zones scanning the ships that came along, and made a fair bit of money because he could choose his targets and wasn't bound by any specific mission. Same with cargo runs you make up yourself, or mining, or whatever. You can do the same things missions send you on, or you can take missions from factions and get auxiliary rewards like reputation and rank. Faction missions are fruitful but you must beware - missions now branch by default, instead of once in awhile or not at all. This means, "run this cargo to this system" will be followed by an "UPDATE" when you get to "this system" that says, "plans changed, now you must deliver it to THAT system". Total bullshit when it happens EVERY SINGLE TIME! I basically closed down my "SemlerUPS" company sending an imaginary letter to the shipping factions telling them "THAT'S NOT HOW CARGO AND SHIPPING WORKS!! AND IF IT DID, I'D HAVE A RIGHT TO CHARGE YOU EXTRA FOR DESTINATION CHANGES, ASSHOLE!" -- but really, this sort of update mid-mission can happen as appropriate for any faction mission you take, so it must be known before hand. Those hunting missions send you up against ships far out of your class with NO indication of what type of ship they are sending you to find, so beware the early bounty missions when you're still rocking a Sidewinder. For actually holding enough cargo to make a mining or cargo mission pay well, you'll want to ditch your Sidewinder asap and move up to the Hauler or better yet, the Adder. A fighter might want to make for the Viper(s) then the Asp Scout or Vulture, a pirate would prefer the Asp Scout for it's cargo capacity. You're gonna want to use the Wiki's to get a feel for the ships and what they can be outfitted to do - this is the one I'm looking at as I write this: http://elite-dangerous.wikia.com/wiki/Ships Click the different tabs under Ship Stats to get a feel for a ship outfitted with appropriate gear for the various roles, ship parts are everything and all have classes up to A Class (most expensive/efficient) I went from Sidewinder to Adder to Dimondback Explorer in a multirole config (I did some fighting, some exploring, and some cargo - little ED sampler). I've got her parked at some station, and I mostly use my Type 7 these days, saving for a Python (probably, either that or Anaconda). If you go white hat and play good, you avoid carrying elicit cargo such as drugs, human slaves, or banned materials to stations - I didn't exactly play black hat, but more Han Solo grey... I used my Adder to run every smuggling mission the Factions offered on the missions screens at space stations, I got very good at not getting caught by avoiding missions to bases and preferring Outposts - these are like floating oil rigs with landing pads, no security, seldom get scanned if you land swiftly. Any smuggling mission that didn't have a destination on an Outpost style base, I'd ignore. I'd make a quarter to half a million in one run, once I did enough runs to get better missions on offer, so you can choose this if you want to get a quick load of cash for your first new ship. If you get busted, they just slap you with a fine anyway, and it's like 30,000 to your 300,000 run, so I didn't care and I paid them off before they turned into bounties against me (Han Solo's biggest mistake) When you get allied to a minor Faction you complete missions for, higher reward/risk missions from them open up to you. There's power play with the major factions as well, and by involving yourself, you can gain rank and get a weekly cash income eventually making it very worth it (5,000,000 per week is nothing to scoff at, but it is mid/late game before you'd get to that level), it's a thing to be doing over the long course of your game. I'd not choose a major faction first off, but make it a priority once you've play a little bit, and found a sector of space you enjoy. If you have plans to explore our star system and see Earth in the game, called the Sol System, you'll need a permit, and you must be allied to the Federation to be eligible for the permit (guides online for how to). You can leave a faction, but it will cause them to agro you for a week of real world time, but you don't have to be playing for the timer to keep counting down. They send ships to kill you, but you can just escape as able. The Federation and the Empire both have a top tier ship on offer if you level up with them, only available to purchase if you're allied with them of course. The Federation actually has 2 sub factions, a sort of "civil war" over who is the rightful governing body (not fully sure, I don't keep up with the story line if you can call it that). Best to choose your way of getting money, stick with it for awhile and gain rank with a faction, unlocking better missions, setting bookmarks in your galaxy map for future reference, and getting to know what you like to do in the game. When you're ready to buy your first or second better ship, you'll know what direction you want to take from your research on the Wiki Ships. On that note, for trading, most people use Thrudd's Elite Trading Tool which can find all sorts of cargo runs from one-way to round trip, and anytime you need to move from one system to the next, you should check to see what you can fill your hold with to make the jump worth while - just note that what is a 2 jump trip with NO cargo can be a 5-7 jump trip fully laden and you must budget gas so you do not run out (or get a fuel scoop to harvest from a star, but again, not all stars yield fuel so know your runs). There will always be a grind eventually - I just run cargo while watching reruns on Netflix on the other monitor, puts me to sleep after a few hours, but by then I'm 2-3 million credits richer and closer to my end goal of a Python or Anaconda. Raven prefers to stay active in his time online and hunts other ships. My favorite Twitch'er prefers the mining and it seems like a good middle ground between the two styles. One of the guys in TS3 went on an exploration mission in one direction for a very long time, more than a week of game play I think - of course, it takes just as long to get back to civilized space, but the cash rewards he got I'm sure more than compensated in the form of millions and millions of credits for pages and pages of discovery data to sell. And these days, there is the Horizons content with planetary landings where you can mine specific materials to micro-enhance your ship in various ways like temporary boosts to different systems. Plenty to do to find what you want and like most and that will determine your direction past early game to mid and late game goals. Happy to answer any questions if you have them, or just chat about Elite here - anyone should feel free to toss up some screenshots if they want. I know there are several people here who've played Elite Dangerous and likely have different experiences and tips to share. This game got me into VoiceAttack voice control software for my games, and these days I use it for damn near every game I own now, and many other functions as well. Not that I ran out of buttons for Elite Dangerous - it's so well controlled, it uses only the buttons on the X52 flight stick/throttle that it was designed for and truly needs nothing else, not even the mouse if you didn't want to use it. It's just cool to tell my ship to "Request Docking" and have it reply like some Star Trek ship; that, and the evasive maneuvers macro I have set to voice control... something so geeky cool about yelling, "EVASIVE MANEUVERS" and "DEPLOY HARDPOINTS" to my ship's "computer" while I prepare to launch a steady volley of mines for my pursuer to chew on.