Elite Dangerous Piracy Guide - Nav Beacon, No Fire Zone - Prima Games

Elite Dangerous Piracy Guide – Nav Beacon, No Fire Zone

by Prima Games Staff

Being a Pirate in Elite Dangerous is one of the riskiest yet rewarding jobs in the galaxy. However, if you dont make smart moves youre sure to regret it in the long run. Today were going to dive into the top things you need to know to become a successful Pirate.

Moral Issues

First lets get this off the table. Becoming a pirate doesnt automatically make you a bad person. Yes, it makes you unlawful, but as long as you play the system right, reduce the number of corpses left in your wake and increase the amount of cargo youre hauling, youll likely become great at this profession.

Setting Up

To start, youll want to pillage and plunder in a safe area. In order to do this, travel to a lawless system. It will say Allegiance: None on the map, and then head over to a Nav Beacon. Nav Beacons are layover points for NPC ships, and are great for stalking prey.

The reason you want to start off in a lawless system is because 1.) attacking other ships wont put a price on your head, and 2.) you have an easily accessible Black Market in which to fence your wrongfully obtained goods. Just remember not to fire on anyone in a stations No Fire Zone and you shouldnt run into big issues.

Tip: Piracy doesnt require massive amounts of ship planning. While upgrades will certainly help, you can just as easily pirate with a default Sidewinder or other type of ship.

The First Job

Once you arrive at a Nav Beacon, youll want to keep a lookout for a few different types of ships. Haulers or Lakon Type 6s are always merchants, and youll want to choose a target and go in guns blazing. Dont worry about being polite to the NPCs. Cut down their hull and shields until they jettison their cargo. 

Tip: Pirating against NPCs is a lot different than pirating players. When dealing with players, you should always give them a chance to drop their goods, and if they fail to comply, then youll want to target their Cargo Hatch and bust it open to get the items. NPCs will always jettison their cargo when they reach a certain level of hull damage.

Once the ship has jettisoned its cargo, take a look at your spoils.

Scoop, Scoop, Run

This is one of the most dangerous things about being a pirate, especially if there are other pirates around. Cargo floating through space is like bloody meat in the ocean. Its bound to attract some sharks. Youll want to extend your Cargo Scoop and grab as much of the loot as you can before other pirates descend. Dont get greedy, and when the loot gets too hot, make your escape and sell it off at a station.

Knowing Your Competition

Another important aspect to piracy is knowing what ships to hit. There are generally around three types of NPCs in lawless systems: merchants (or truckers), pirates and psychopaths. Anybody flying a Hauler or Lakon Type 6 is a trucker. Also, anyone flying like they have somewhere really important to be is a trucker. Anybody that you see floating around, especially if their Hardpoints are deployed, is either a pirate or a psychopath. If you get scanned youre looking at a pirate, but if you simply get shot upon without any provocation, he or she is a psychopath, and your only smart option is to run as fast as you can.

Tip: Another easy way to tell merchants from pirates is to look at the ships flight pattern. If they weave and rock they are pirates or psychopaths, however if theyre making a beeline straight out of the Nav Beacon you found a trucker with a heavy Cargo Hold.

Unidentified Signal Sources

Unidentified Signal Sources are another great stop to make. These reoccurring drop-ins sometimes house Bounty Hunters — so be careful — or free cargo. If you happen to run across any cargo, collect and get out of these as fast as you can. Sometimes you might get ambushed by two or three Cobras or even Vipers. If that happens, dont try to fight or finish scooping. Tuck your tail and flee.

Upgrading Your Ship

As we mentioned above, ship upgrades arent a huge deal from the start, making piracy an easy way to begin Elite Dangerous. However, once youve made enough money, its definitely worthwhile to look into purchasing a Cobra Mk. III or a Viper. The Cobra is the larger of the two ships, has a heftier Cargo Hold and doesnt overheat nearly as easily as the Viper.  Conversely, if you desire more speed and maneuverability youll want to pick up a Viper. Strictly speaking, the Cobra is probably a better pirate ship due to the larger Cargo Hold, but if youd rather have better Hardpoint placement, higher speed and more maneuverability then youre better off going with the Viper.

Once you have a larger ship, like the Cobra or Viper, you can add more targets to your hit list. Ships like Cobras and Anacondas, which were impossible to take down before, are now legitimate targets, but you should still approach them with caution. Any ships carrying railguns or missile launchers should be given a wide berth.

Tip: Picking up a Cargo Scanner will allow you to scan your targets cargo and see if they are worth the trouble and ammunition.

Moral of the Story

Remember that youre a pirate, not a psychopath. You shoot people because it profits you, not because its fun. If there isnt a need to fight, dont risk the expensive repairs or possible death. Remember, its just as easy for two enemies to fight over scraps as it is for them to team up against a large ship like an Anaconda for a bigger payday.

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