Elite Tactics

From Elite Wiki

1) Read the Manual - The Space Traders Flight Training Manual

2) Tactics (Nabbed from http://www.stairwaytohell.com/gamehelp/GUIDE-Elite-MU.html)

The sections on Instrumentation, Flight and Docking have been omitted as they are covered in the Manual


Having covered the fundamentals, we must now consider our prime objective, which is to become a member of the order of Elite combatteers. But to go fighting with only a front pulse laser is fatal. You must first trade to earn enough credits to arm your ship to the back teeth.

You start the game with 100 credits, the Galactic currency, on the planet Lave. This is a rich agricultural planet, and this means that farm produce is cheap but machinery is expensive.

It pays to buy wine here, so for the first time buy 4 tonnes (f1 for buy cargo) for about 100 credits.

Leesti is a poor industrial planet, which means that machinery is cheap, but farm produce is expensive. So you hyperspace to Leesti to sell your wine (f2). You will get about 160 credits for your 4 tonnes - now you are a trader.

Now buy two computers, because they are cheap, and fly them back to Lave. Sell them at a high price and buy more wine, fly the wine to Leesti and so on. This is very boring after a while, but it really is worth doing for as long as you can stand it.

... and Tactics

At this stage you'll need a very useful technique - cheating! We have read many letters from Commanders who have got to this stage, but complain that after three or four runs they get killed by space pirates and have to start all over again.

A possible solution to this problem is to save the game, but this is tedious at best. A better method is to press @ every time you land to save the game, but on tape machines don't actually record the data, and on disc versions just press Return when the computer asks "Which drive?"

The effect of this is that your current status becomes the default status, and this means that if you are killed you will be returned to the last space station you visited with all your cargo, credits and weapons still intact, without having to load a new commander.

You need only save the game at the end of each playing session. This technique can do wonders for your sanity.


With all the cash that's rolling in by now you'll want to buy some goodies for your ship.

The first item on your shopping list should be a large cargo bay to double your cargo space, and therefore your profit.

It will set you back 400 credits and it is best to wait until you have at least 650 credits before making your purchase so you have enough left to continue trading profitably.

On the tape version a docking computer is a good second buy. If you have disc you will find the docking computer very slow, but if your docking is a bit shaky then it's best to buy one.

Next is a front beam laser. Make sure you have at least 1300 credits before buying your second item. After this it's basically a case of what takes your fancy, but beam lasers to the right, left and rear are recommended, along with an ECM system and energy units. On the disc version a front military laser is a must.


Your rating is based on the number of ships you successfully encounter. The more pirates you kill, the higher your rating.

Do not shoot at traders - they are easy targets, but your criminal record will suffer and GalCop police Vipers are not such easy targets.

It follows from this that you need somewhere where you can kill people without anyone minding too much, for example an anarchy.

What you need to find is an anarchy within 3.5 light years (two hyperspace jumps on one tank of fuel) of a democracy. The democracy gives you a safe refuge with a crippled ship when you hyperspace back all shot up.

So once you have fully armed your ship find a democracy with an anarchy close by. Refuel there, and fly to the anarchy.

As soon as you arrive set the hyperspace pointer to the democracy. Now fly directly away from the planet - the compass should be centred, the dot small and dim.

The reason for flying away from the planet is that if you didn't you might fly into the safety zone and shoot a harmless trader to bits by accident.

Accelerate to full speed and jump drive. After a few moments the jump drive will stall and pirates will appear on the scanner. Turn your ship so that they are directly in front of you, and blast away, killing off as many as you can.

Don't slow down - if you have to get them in view speed up again as quickly as possible. Once you have flown through the pack they will separate and you can pick them off one at a time.

Wait for the energy banks and shields to recharge fully after you have killed all the pirates - not even one of the Elite can survive combat with empty energy banks.

When fully charged jump drive again and kill some more.

You may find that some ships release a lot of cargo canisters when they explode.

If you have a fuel scoop you can pick them up, but it isn't worth it. They are worth far more to you if you shoot them - they are sitting ducks, but kills are awarded for them just as for ships.

If you do pick them up you will probably find they contain narcotics or slaves, and the GalCop police will be right after you.

If at any time during combat the pirates start to get the better of you, say your energy is down to bank 3, then it's time to leave the party. Press H - now you see why hyperspace is programmed before starting combat - and flip over (X) so you are flying away from the pirates.

This is so that the pirates shoot at your rear shields, which are usually full, and not at the main energy banks. This way it is unlikely they will blast through the hull of your ship before you vanish into hyperspace. When you arrive turn to face the planet and accelerate to full speed. Do not jump drive - you will encounter more pirates if you do, and you will almost certainly die before reaching the safety zone.

Once your shields are at full it is safe to jump drive. The reason for choosing a democracy will become very clear to you now, as all other systems are crawling with pirates, added to which are the extras mentioned above, which I believe follow you through hyperspace.

Dock with the space station as soon as you can. Breathe a sigh of relief. Refuel, and return to combat for more action.

After a few rounds of action you will notice that your rating has changed. It is however a mistake to think that it will only take another 15 minutes to get to Elite, for it won't.

Your rating is based on the "Right on Commander" messages which appear on your screen. You are awarded one for every 256 pirates you kill.

The rating system has nine levels - Harmless, Mostly Harmless, Poor, Average, Above Average, Competent, Dangerous, Deadly and finally Elite.

It will take one "Right on Commander" to get from Harmless to Competent. Another two will take you to Dangerous. To reach Deadly you need another eight, and to reach Elite a mammoth 16.

Don't let the prospect of having to kill around 7,000 ships put you off - just don't think about it.

Final Briefing

Many offhand comments in the Elite manual are true, despite how silly some sound. It says that the Space Navy will pay a large bounty for any Thargon craft brought to them, but it doesn't mention that this is in fact possible by scooping up dead Thargon drone ships and selling them as "alien items".

It also fails to advise you that it is possible to pick up escape capsules and keep the occupants as slaves.

It does, however, reveal that Thargoid craft are believed to be able to hover in witch space, and divert through-coming craft. This has happened to us several times. A military laser soon puts a stop to that little game.

Another quote is "The missile launch mechanism is reliable and hardly ever jams" - but it can and does. It also carries the disclaimer "The O.S.A. takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information registered in the WorldData Link".

The meaning of this will become clear when you visit some of the democracies in the higher galaxies and find them pirate-infested, and also some of the anarchies, which can be devoid of all life.

The disc version of Elite is far better than the cassette mainly due to the large difference in size of program.

So if you haven't got a disc drive then Elite is the excuse you've been waiting for.

In the disc version are another 12 different types of ship, more activity at space stations, and - the major feature - the Space Navy. You remember them - the guys in the grey suits from The Dark Wheel.

After reaching Competent you will receive a message from Captain Carruthers, asking if you will do a little bounty hunting for him, namely to seek and destroy a stolen Navy prototype ship.

Later Captain Fortesque will ask for your services to run some top secret plans about the Thargoids across the galaxy. The only problem is that they are not so secret - the Thargoids know of them and ambush you repeatedly.

And, if, after all this help you still can't make the grade, next month's issue of The Micro User contains a program that should send you well on your way!