Elite Dangerous: A Beginner’s Guide (2023)

Elite: Dangerous, hereafter referred to as E:D for simplicity’s sake, is a space flight, combat, and trading simulator that was a key part of one of Microsoft’s E3 surprises. Though it was previously known to be coming to Xbox One, it’s one of two debut titles for the Game Preview program – a variation of Steam’s Early Access program for the console. Gamers who stick to consoles can be excused for thinking this is a new IP, but E:D is actually the fourth in the Elite franchise and has been available on PC since late last year.

In E:D gamers are given access to a starter ship, a bit of cash to fund their initial adventures, and a wide-open universe to explore – 100 billion star systems and 400 billion stars according to the FAQ – but it can be a bit overwhelming at the outset, so here’s some tips to get you started:

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1)There’s a big galaxy to explore, but you aren’t going to have much fun until you know how to get around it. The game provides a tutorial mode…make use of it, particularly the docking, supercruise, and hyperspace tutorials. At the outset, the game isn’t that heavy in combat (unless you want it to be) so get the movement down before you move on to combat training.

2)A big part of the early learning curve is docking with a new station. After using hyperspace to travel to the system, target the station by using the nav map (click the right stick, then look down and to the left to find that expanding panel) and engage supercruise (hold A and hit UP on the d-pad) to travel to it quickly. Accelerating and braking is easy enough – right bumper speeds you up while left bumper slows you down – but there’s some complexity here as well. Go too fast and you’ll blast past the entire system – never mind the station – and have to loop back to it.

You’ll notice a couple of blue indicators that play a key role in hitting your marks. The first of these is a blue band in the speed display found just to the right of center in the lower part of the screen, keep your speed in the blue band and the ship will automatically slow down as you get closer to your target. On the lower left of the screen is the target indicator. When you have the station targeted you’ll see a pair of horizontal bars – distance and speed – that have blue bars as well. When both meters hit the blue you can again hold A and hit UP to drop out of supercruise and into normal space.

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Now you’re close to the station and still only half done the steps needed to actually land on it. The next step is to get close enough, about 7.5 km from the station, and then hail it to request permission to land. Just right click to look around the cockpit again, look back at that panel to the left and then right bumper over to Contacts. Select the station and request permission. Just that easy.

Oh yeah, now you’ll have to actually LAND on the station – and at the proper landing spot to boot. Fortunately when you request permission – should you receive permission to land, the station can be too busy (or your ship too big) for a landing – you’ll see the proper landing strip illuminated. Line yourself up carefully, you have about 10 minutes to get things sorted out so take your time, and use the right stick for fine maneuvering. Remember to extend your landing gear (hold B and press DOWN) before dropping onto the deck. If you’re down and it looks perfect but it’s not docking you with the station, you may need to spin around and face the other way. Just click the left stick to enter alternate mode, then hold left/right on the left stick to spin around.

3)You can be anything you want, but you’ll have a better time with the game if you decide what that’s going to be early on. If you want to be a miner, investigate and invest in equipment that’s going to help you toward that goal. Piracy a more attractive option? You’ll want to make sure you have good weapons and an interdictor – a device that knocks targets out of supercruise and into normal space. Want to hunt pirates? Get yourself the best weapons you can find!

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4)If you want to be a trader, find a good route. Learn what materials can be purchased cheaply in one area and sold for a profit at another, then refine your route so you can maximize your profit. You don’t want to spend a ton of time traveling in supercruise, you want to drop in from hyperspace, sell your cargo and get back into hyperspace ASAP. You’ll do pretty well at the start by simply looking at the commodities market and seeing where goods are imported from.

5)You’ll face the question of whether or not to upgrade your starter Sidewinder or replace it with a new ship like the Cobra or Python. Your best bet as you’re learning the game, which will take a considerable number of hours, is to stick with the Sidewinder. It’s a good all-around ship that can fit almost any role you want to play, and it is replaced for free – though you’ll have to pay for any upgrades you’ve installed – should you be destroyed in combat. After that point you’ll want to switch to an Eagle or Viper for combat-heavy roles and a Hauler for mining or trading playstyles.

6)Always, always, ALWAYS check the bulletin board at your destination before you sell off cargo. You may find a mission that will reward you a lot more for that load of scrap metal.

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7)At the outset you’ll find it easier to simply do delivery missions, taking cargo from one point to another, than any other mission. These aren’t glamorous runs, but they’ll give you a bit of coin and a much better awareness of the universe. When you’ve improved your ship and skills a bit, then take on the more esoteric missions like eliminating targets or finding specific loot.

8)If you find you can’t make a jump straight to another system that you need to get to, explore the galaxy map to see if there’s an intermediary jump that will make the trip possible. You might need to refuel partway, but it’s better than simply abandoning a mission because the target system isn’t a straight shot from where you are.

9)Need to escape combat? Switch power to engines by hitting UP on the d-pad, then boost away by tapping the B button. If you catch your attacker by surprise you can open up enough room to get away.

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10)Don’t spend all your money. You’ll want to keep enough credits on hand to pay for your insurance costs should your ship be destroyed. You’re always able to respawn in the starter sidewinder, but losing your prized weapons and accessories can be a painful pill to swallow.

Hopefully there’s enough there to get you started and on your way to space domination. If you’re a fan of games like Wing Commander or Freelancer, be sure to check out Elite: Dangerous. It’s been out on PC for several months and just hit Game Preview for Xbox One.


What is the best way to make money in Elite Dangerous 2022? ›

Elite Dangerous: 8 Best Ways To Make Money
  1. 7/8 Ground Combat. ...
  2. 6/8 Anti-Xeno Combat. ...
  3. 5/8 Mining. ...
  4. 4/8 Bounty Hunting And Massacre Missions. ...
  5. 3/8 Trade Routes. ...
  6. 2/8 Booze Cruise. ...
  7. 1/8 Passenger Missions.
15 Aug 2022

What should I be doing in Elite Dangerous? ›

Players start with a spaceship and a small amount of money, and the goal is to survive and grow. They can accomplish this through activities like mining, exploring, trading, transportation, bounty-hunting, and more.

Is Elite Dangerous hard to get into? ›

Is Elite Dangerous hard? Depends on what you're doing. Courier missions, just taking supplies or data from point A to point B are easy. Mining, and trading, inside or outside of the context of missions, are also relatively easy, but require knowhow about the game in order to actually find the resources you need.

What is the best first ship to buy in Elite Dangerous? ›

The Eagle is a very popular combat ship for those starting out their career as a Bounty Hunter, although you should invest in better shields as soon as you have the funds to do so, as the hull is a little lightweight.

Can I land on Earth like planets in Elite Dangerous? ›

You can't land on Earth like worlds. Because reason. Actually it is because 80% of the planets in the game don't have atmosphere so enabling landing on those makes the more sense it is for the best of the game.

What is the best job in Elite Dangerous? ›

Trading. Trading is by far the most lucrative of jobs. If you want to make the big bucks, this is where you go. Unfortunately, it also requires a heavy investment both in money and time.

What the point of Silent Running do in Elite Dangerous? ›

Silent Running mode can be activated to reduce the visibility of a ship to others, allowing it to remain undetected and making it harder to be targeted. The visibility of a ship depends on its heat signature - that is the amount of heat that it generates.

Can you be a pirate in Elite Dangerous? ›

Pirates can operate anywhere in the galaxy, but low-security systems are the most lucrative. Piracy is prevalent in Anarchy systems and systems with a ruling anarchy minor faction. Pirates don't gain a bounty and there's no NPC security in anarchy systems.

How many planets can you land on in Elite Dangerous? ›

Overview. Players are able to land on four types of airless planets - rocky, metal, ice and rocky/metal - which make up 61% of the planet types in the Milky Way galaxy. These planets vary in size and composition, therefore having different gravity forces affecting the flight and landing dynamics.

Can you pay to win in Elite Dangerous? ›

I'm happy to tell you that outside of ship skins and cosmetic enhancements, Elite: Dangerous doesn't have any "pay to win" schemes. You can't buy better weapons with real money, nor better ships with real money, nor in-game credits with real money.

Can you walk on planets in Elite Dangerous? ›

For the first time in Elite Dangerous, players can disembark from their ships inside ports and on planetary surfaces to explore and engage in combat.

How long would it take to explore all of Elite Dangerous? ›

That's 732 per hour, or 12 per minute. At that rate it will take players 150,895 years to map the entire galaxy.

Does speeding matter in Elite Dangerous? ›

While no penalties will be incurred for speeding in itself, if you collide with another ship while speeding then fines or bounties will be incurred. Shields only collisions above speed limit cause a fine. Hull damage only above speed limit causes a larger fine.

What is the most profitable type of mining Elite Dangerous? ›

Laser mining is the simplest form of mining in elite and currently the most profitable way to mine.

What should I upgrade first Elite Dangerous? ›

First of all, any new player should focus on upgrading their Power Plant. This is the piece of hardware that powers your entire ship and regulates how many modules and upgrades you can install. You want to make sure it has decent heat efficiency.

What is the most maneuverable ship in Elite Dangerous? ›

Alliance Chieftain has excellent maneuverability and strong firepower that enables it to hit targets pretty hard and avert counterattacks. It incorporates six weapon hardpoints, which is a large number for a medium-sized ship. Unlike the Fer-de-Lance, Alliance Chieftain doesn't have a huge hardpoint.

What is the best height to AFK at? ›

Your AFK room can technically be anywhere within 128 blocks of the spawner room. But the best place to put it is high up into the air, approximately 80 blocks above the roof of the farm.

What is the fastest way to get raw materials in elite dangerous? ›

Raw materials can be found on landable stellar bodies (low gravity and flat surface are much preferred), signal sources, and through asteroid mining. Also "raw" Material Trader can exchange materials you own for materials you want to obtain.

Can you destroy a space station in Elite Dangerous? ›

No. You can shut down a station by 'UA bombing' it, which means selling a lot of unknown artifacts to it (not literally bombing) which will shut down it's systems for awhile, but as far as I know the probes don't do anything to stations.

Can you terraform a planet in Elite Dangerous? ›

Many planets, and a smaller number of moons, are marked as candidates for terraforming. These worlds are located in their sun's habitable zone and can potentially be terraformed to be suitable for human life.

Is Mars in Elite Dangerous? ›

Mars is the fourth planet of Sol and the capital world of the Federation. The terraforming of Mars was completed in 2291 after an earlier, experimental attempt failed.

Is mining good in Elite Dangerous? ›

Mining is the number-one way to make money in Elite Dangerous. There is no other activity that comes close to the potential profits of a long mining session, so buckle up, get your mining lasers ready, and start blasting those asteroids. If only it was that simple.

What percentage of Elite Dangerous has been explored? ›

As of January 20, 2022, only 0.05% of the galaxy, or exactly 222,083,678 unique star systems, had been explored.

What is the eagle good for Elite Dangerous? ›

The Eagle is a great second ship for players to jump to and some even prefer it over the Hauler for cargo jobs due to its respectable 16T of space. The Eagle makes a fantastic Bounty Hunter or Pirate.

What is the C unit in Elite Dangerous? ›

In supercruise, speeds are typically measured in multiples of the speed of light, represented as c or in megameters per second, represented as Mm/s (1c = 300Mm/s). A ship that is traveling at 1c is therefore traveling at the speed of light.

Are sensors important Elite Dangerous? ›

As Sensors are a core module, they may not be completely removed. Breaking Sensors will prevent Gimballed and Turreted weapons from functioning since Sensors provide the ship's targeting capability. Exploration - you may wish to disable your sensors when managing power to get the most out of your exploration ship.

What is the best thing to mine in Elite Dangerous 2022? ›

Laser mining is the simplest form of mining in elite and currently the most profitable way to mine.

What is the most valuable resource in Elite Dangerous? ›

The most profitable core mining material is either Void Opals or Low Temperature Diamonds. Void opals are commonly found around Icy rings. There are worth upwards of 650k per ton.

How do I make money in Elite Dangerous PVE? ›

Making Money
  1. Find a system with good hunting opportunities (HazRES, station or fleet carrier nearby)
  2. Check wether the surrounding systems spawn pirate massacre missions targeted at that hunting system. ...
  3. Stack massacre missions.

Is mining in Elite Dangerous worth it? ›

Mining is the number-one way to make money in Elite Dangerous. There is no other activity that comes close to the potential profits of a long mining session, so buckle up, get your mining lasers ready, and start blasting those asteroids.

How do I avoid pirate mining Elite Dangerous? ›

Follow these rules and you should not encounter any attack while mining:
  1. Don't mine at a RES.
  2. Once you dropped in your mining location WAIT until you have been scanned by the pirates - this takes 1 ~ 5 min. Preferably use this time to prospect.
  3. Start Mining without interruption.
13 Aug 2020

What is the fastest way to get raw materials in Elite Dangerous? ›

Raw materials can be found on landable stellar bodies (low gravity and flat surface are much preferred), signal sources, and through asteroid mining. Also "raw" Material Trader can exchange materials you own for materials you want to obtain.

What is the best ship in elite? ›

The Cobra MkIII is the best multipurpose ship in Elite Dangerous: Horizons for beginner players with limited budgets. This small spaceship will set you back 349,718 credits, which makes it a real bargain. You can potentially turn this into a ship worth six to seven million credits with upgrades.

Can you get capital ships in Elite Dangerous? ›

They can be purchased and operated by Pilots Federation-licensed pilots, who are responsible for commanding and paying the crew.

Can you fly on planets in Elite Dangerous? ›

That's all you need to enter orbital cruise and drop down into planetary flight. If for some reason your ship is not fitted with a planetary landing suite, you can purchase them in outfitting. To drive on a planet's surface, you'll need to fit a planetary vehicle hangar module.

What weapons are good Elite Dangerous? ›

Good Weapon Combinations
  • Smaller Fixed Pulse/Burst + Larger Gimballed Multicannon.
  • Smaller Fixed Pulse/Burst + Larger Gimballed Fragment Cannon.
  • Smaller Fixed Pulse/Burst + Larger Fixed Cannon.
  • Railgun(s) + Gimballed/Fixed Multicannon (Heat Problematic!)

What's the biggest ship you can get in Elite Dangerous? ›

Type-9 Heavy. The Type-9 Heavy is the largest dedicated trading ship in Elite Dangerous. It's an absolute monster, with a cargo capacity of 300t as default and the potential to be upgraded to 700t.


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