Frontier: Elite II - A Beginner's Guide
There are three different systems to choose from when you start out in Frontier,
each having a significant and unique effect on the difficulties you face.
Mars This is the toughest option. You start
off without a hyperdrive, so getting out of the Sol system is a no-no. To get
anywhere, you have to trade between the planets within the system, which is
and normally gives very small margins for profit. In addition, you have no
autopilot, and so must navigate manually. The only thing in your favour is the
stability of the Sol system - you'll never get attacked by pirates. Unless
very experienced player who fancies the challenge, though, it's best to avoid
Lave In many ways this is the easiest choice, because you start with a Cobra
Mk III instead of an Eagle, which puts you at just under 100,000 credits better
The best move is to sell the Cobra as soon as possible, buy a Viper or an Adder,
then spend some of the remaining money on fitting the ship out (See Optional
Extras on the facing page). Make sure you leave yourself enough to fill your
hold. However, there are drawbacks. Starting on Lave automatically gives you a
Fugitive legal status in both the Federation and Imperium, and pirates are far
common in independent space. Nevertheless, this is still the easiest place to
off from, especially for people who don't want to spend a lot of time getting a
Ross 154 This is the game's recommended starting position - and the one
the manual's introduction is tailored to. It's moderately difficult - although
start off with only an Eagle Fighter, it does have a hyperdrive - and plumps you
right in the middle of Federation space, so straight off there are a lot of safe
planets to trade with. You can even start on a military career, if you want.
When starting from here your primary goal should always be to save enough
money to buy a bigger ship - the Eagle has virtually no potential, and to get
anywhere you'll need to upgrade.
Trading is the easiest, safest and most profitable way to make money at the
of the game. What's more, Frontier has made the whole process much easier than
in the original Elite, by providing economic data on systems and suggested trade
routes. Buying a trade item on a planet that exports it and selling it on one
imports it virtually guarantees a profit, so even the complete novice shouldn't
things too difficult. However, here are a few pointers...
Always check the bulletin board before selling a trade item. Often there will be
people wanting to buy a specific type, and they normally offer twice the current
market price. By selling to these people you can make huge profits.
Always check the legality of the items you're carrying with respect to your
destination system. The police in Frontier are amazingly efficient, and will
a big fine on you just for possessing a restricted good.
Robots are the best things to buy at industrial worlds and sell well on
planets, giving the highest profit in nearly all cases.
Look out for systems that are undergoing a civil war, or are disputed by the
Federation and the Empire, such as Zeaex (3,-2) or Enioar (-3,-4). These systems
are very dangerous, but prices are incredibly high. You can make a huge profit
you're prepared to fight your way through them.
Frontier has a huge array of equipment for the new pilot to choose from, some of
which is more useful than the rest...
Shooty Things Arming your ship adequately is a very important part of
Frontier - even if you don't intend to pick any fights, you still have to defend
yourself. Try to upgrade to a beam laser as soon as possible - even the 1MW
version is more deadly than a pulse laser, for example. You won't need anything
bigger than the 4MW model for some time, however. Likewise, the plasma
accelerators are massive overkill until much further into the game, so don't
about them early on. Missiles are more a matter of taste, but it's worth paying
extra for the Navy Grade models that are immune to ECM, and saving them for
emergencies. Don't bother with mines - missiles are far more effective for a
minimal increase in price - or Energy Bombs, unless you have a very large ship
(they take up 4 tonnes of cargo space, you can only use them once and they're
only effective against the smallest of enemies).
Defensive Measures The simplest way to defend yourself in Frontier
is to get a bigger ship - the greater the Hull Mass, the more damage a ship can
soak up before exploding, you see. Not many ships use missiles early on in the
game, but once you've got a decent ship it is worth getting an ECM system.
Shield Generators are all but pointless unless you have the space for at least
and ten is a better number. If you have ship big enough to do this then it's
worth getting an Energy Booster. Steer clear of Escape Capsules - it's very easy
launch them accidentally. Again, the Hull Auto Repair System is very useful, but
you needa big ship.
Getting There To buy Military Drives, or not? It's a tough decision, and
one that depends greatly on your current circumstances. If you have a very large
ship, are travelling on the edges of settled space or even exploring new
then they're not a good idea. However, for medium-sized ships in developed areas
they free up a great deal of space, and can easily pay for themselves. Be aware,
though, of the hassles of the radioactive waste products - dumping them is
risky, and even carrying them is illegal in some systems (notably Sol).
Other Stuff A lot of this will depend on your current situation and personal
but there are a few things that apply in all cases. The Radar Mapper enables you
to collect bounties on wanted pirates, and is very useful besides for judging
level of your opposition. An Auto Pilot is all but vital, especially when
started. Atmospheric Shielding is well worth the minimal space it takes up, just
for the flexibility it provides when choosing where to land. Fuel scoops are
for users of normal hyperdrives, but the Cargo Scoop Conversion is pointless
unless you're into asteroid mining - most combats occur at such high speed that
correcting your course and intercepting any wreckage is all but impossible. And
the Autorefueller is not worth bothering with - just keep an eye on your fuel,
always carry a few tonnes spare.
The key thing to remember about combat is that 90% of the time it occurs when
you're travelling to a planet at several hundred kilometres per second - which
makes it very hard to manoeuvre. Here's a smattering of useful combat tactics to
give you the upper hand.
As soon as the alert sounds, and you drop out of accelerated time, switch to
manual thrust and turn about 90Ø away from your current heading. Wait for
ten seconds, and then turn off your engines. This will shift your course enough
prevent incoming enemies lining you up in their sights - remember, they are
as fast as you and find it just as difficult to manoeuvre.
Once your engines are off, spin around until the enemy is in front of you. Pause
the game. Use the mouse to target the ship by clicking on it, then unpause and
start firing at the enemy. With any luck it will fly straight by, and turn
another pass. Keep strafing your opponent in this way, and you should be able to
destroy him quite easily.
If another ship lines up on you and starts firing while this is going on, be
quickly turn on your engines and thrust away at an angle from him. Once more,
hold the thrust for about ten seconds and then turn off your engines before
swinging around and continuing to fire.
Onwards And Outwards
These hints and tips only scratch the surface of Frontier, but they should get
started, and cover most of the questions and queries we've had about the game.
The key thing to remember is that there are few 'right' things to do in the game
it's very much up to you to do what you want, so have fun.