Investigation into the "Mysterious Stranger"

PS2: Returning to Tip Off related mysteries "in general" I have completely forgot to mention the most amazing - imo - achievement in this domain. If someone not already aware, some time ago well known commander Ian Doncaster has established a pattern in systems with Tip Off locations for Colonia Bubble. Recently conducted in-field research (bravo commanders Requese, Solexe, ShadowNUAR,PepelatziGravetzappa and Rick6549) not only allowed to establish the timetable to all known sites in Colonia but also proved that 12 out of 15 Ian's original predictions were in fact "direct hits", really unprecedented result. As consequence we can even suppose that we have now the full set of Tip Off related crash site locations in Colonia.
 
I suggest no solution to the mystery to be directly exposed, people are working on that.
I had similar reseaech going on for missions (non TO) that one would get in space, like the Source and Return you will find at T9 Ariel (DA-FE 01), that is consistent throughout the game in the missions and T9 Crash sites (possibly only asset). We even tried to destroy it to see if affects bgs. Or the same thing with a blue mission poi Degraded Missions, with no mission given to you, then picking up the black box yields an assassination..

I believe that is another "set" of mystery mission, just like TO (currently freezed the research).

Basically I would be said if iw as just exposed, though hints come handy at time. I recommend the latter.
 
Hi there,

Lots of interesting theories.

Just wondering if you'd like to know the answer to this or if you'd prefer it to remain a mystery that you can speculate about and continue to investigate?

Thanks,
Dom
Hi Dom,

I personally believe all we need/want to know is if there actually is an answer and if it can be actually found with what we're given in game, however difficult it could be - or if it's just some proc gen'd flavor added to the game with no deeper meaning. Whatever it is, knowing it would prevent a lot of the frustrating feeling of being banging our own head on something that has no follow up - a bit like what happened with galnet :)
 
Although this post probably feels riddled with cynicism...

Given the way previous mysteries and FD interaction have played out, if Dom can give an answer to this, it's probably not particularly earth-shattering. But I've also been doubtful there is a (specific) identity to discover, so an answer would provide some closure in that context.
 
Although this post probably feels riddled with cynicism...

Given the way previous mysteries and FD interaction have played out, if Dom can give an answer to this, it's probably not particularly earth-shattering. But I've also been doubtful there is a (specific) identity to discover, so an answer would provide some closure in that context.
A cynicism that unfortunately comes from previous experiences. Galnet articles and every outpost stories or hidden message we've met so far were always self-contained and self-conclusive*, I have a hard time imagining tip-offs aren't :) My point is that telling us is a win win: if they are, we won't get frustrated by digging a shallow hole. If they aren't, more and more people will get into the mystery.

* except some of the INRA bases ones that were interconnected.
 
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Hi Dom,

I personally believe all we need/want to know is if there actually is an answer and if it can be actually found with what we're given in game, however difficult it could be - or if it's just some proc gen'd flavor added to the game with no deeper meaning. Whatever it is, knowing it would prevent a lot of the frustrating feeling of being banging our own head on something that has no follow up - a bit like what happened with galnet :)
Sorry, I'm not Dom, but I at least will try to answer (partially, and in form of long-read).

What we have:

1) set(s) of hand-crafted models for crash sites (multiple dozens, some of them can be quite profitable from the gameplay point of view), assembled from the fixed set of props (hmm, with some "lazy" approach, as, for example, all "damaged" T9's - either in space or any surface crash sites shares exactly same model and texture, and this looks as true for most of all other "crashed" ships in-game - condors, dbx, sideys... may be only condas have some differences and also "unidentified" megaship wreckage have quite a rich set of variations. Funny fact, even on "graveyards" - sites with multiple ships - where one can find two T9's - both share the same model, ID's and damage, just one of them is in the upside down position).

2) sets of end message logs (estimated ~120). They are evidently written (not generated=) ) and simply by definition are the part of the in-game lore. They are limited in quantity and are divided in "subgroups". Some of those "subgroups" are already well known as "Corporate Data Logs" (24 logs, separate group), obtainable exclusively from planetary bases. The latter has been already referred in the report published by CoR. I can only precise now that there are exactly 24 CDL logs (no less, no more). With the rest (logs from "crashed ship" sites and "unidentified wreckage") the situation is a bit more tricky. They are divided into 9+/-(still working on this) fixed non-crossing subsets that can be even sorted by "rarity" in terms of how many sites produce given subset (subsets are nailed to sites and are localisation-independent). The most frequent (and the less organised) "generic" group consists of ~24 logs and attached to 110 (out of 180 so far known) crash sites, containing mostly unrelated logs varying from "thing are myth.." to pirate attacks. I must admit that the members of this group were very "promising" back in 2016 but they sound absolutely outdated now (even that some of original English logs from this group were corrected two or three times since then). Also imo exactly that "popularity" of this group results in an impression one can get that those logs "are always the same". However we have remaining 8 more "rare" subsets (one of them attached only to one so far know site, but the latter may be caused that in fact it has still undiscovered link to another "bigger" subset). Those groups are more organised, logs having some common if not in related "stories", then in "style". To be clear - this division in subgroups is the result of game engine behavior analysis, not some "tinfoil" theory or rich imagination. My own goal here is to found all those logs and classify them from game point of view - any possible contextual analysis I'd prefer to leave for those who knows ED lore much better than me=)

3) sites placement (estimated ~180 crash sites + ~60(?) bases). For me it have clearly procedural generation nature (i.e. Star Forge). Quite a number of indirect signs (including some bug reports) and imo quite direct consequence of Ian's discovery of the working pattern in Colonia - the latter if not proves it directly then at least a very weight-full argument. This can sound quite disappointing for some commanders but for me it's just another opportunity to analyse Star Forge behavior, as imo Tip Off sites and their "hidden" properties can serve as a good "probes" of its behavior (taking into account the estimated number of sites and very deterministic and discrete nature of "attached" properties).

So, are there anything else?

Tip Off mission body composition - solved (if some not so "mysterious stranger" sends you somewhere speaking about "military equipment" then at the other end you'll find a crash site and the log from this site will be the member of "military" group of logs, and one of those logs - may be not the one you've got - in fact speaks about "military equipment")

Mysterious stranger? Dozen's of posts above I've tried to reveal it's not so mysterious nature.

And finally, (but already ninjaed by commander Jmanis while I've wrote this wall of text) - the simple fact that Dom propose to answer some Tip Off related questions... means that we have already those answers. In fact this is the best answer but may be not all of us ready to afford it.
 
PS: While waiting for other opinions I've decided that this can be a good opportunity to show what I mean by "hidden" groups.
Here is an example of one of the relatively "rare" set of logs - the "military" one, already mentioned above. Those 9 logs are grouped in one set by some apriory unknown rule.
1) we don't know if this set is complete
2) Logs are posted in no particular order
3) Some logs are backward translated (semi-automatically, marked with (*)) from other languages (no original English versions recorded so far)
4) and finally -
THIS IS A SPOILER. Do not proceed if you plan to discover them by yourself.

Are you sure?=)

--------------------------------------------------
Comms Record:

Our intel is saying the site has been compromised. Time to move the item to a new location.

As far as anyone else knows, this is just a shipwreck.
Clean the site according to executive order 4762.

Command out.

-----------------------------------------------------
Comms Record:
We'll be glad we had these cashes when it all hits the fan.
It might seen pointless now, but when you're in a fire fight knowing there is a cache nearby to reload and repair is a big weight off.

---------------------------------------------------------
Comms Record:

We've hit the mother lode. This is military-grade stuff. Load up as much as you can. This will make us a load of hard credits.

Lets be quick though, I don't want the military finding us here stealing their equipment.

------------------------------------------------------------
Sit Rep:

Hansel to command.

The breadcrumbs have been laid for the wicked witch.

Moving to rendezvous with Gretel in sector 16


(*)----------------------------------------------
Sit Rep:

Object SJK-324 is fully functional.

Patrol routes are established.
All ready for the offense.


(*)------------------------------------------------
Sit Rep:

Area MES-81 is cleared. We've covered the cache with debris, so no one can find it now. Contact the quartermaster, the package is ready.

--------------------------------------
Sit Rep:



Units 2,3 and 6 are green.

Unit 7 is compromised, suspected pirate activity.

Units 8 and 9 are green.

Unit 10 is a total loss due to seismic disturbance at that loacation.



Operation status is amber.

(*)--------------------------------------
Sit Rep:



What a mess. Fragments everywhere.

All the useful parts have already been picked up by someone.

I recommend that you plan to clean up the area.

-----------------------------------------
Quartermaster's Log:



All items accounted for and stored according to executive order 988. Skimmers and security measures in place.

Moving to next location.

Hope this will not provoke too much tinfoilery=)
o7
 
I love a good mystery but (as I've mentioned before) my current gameplay ambitions preclude my going after these. I'm happy to report them (although I'm no longer certain that's desired - feel free to clarify).
I can't say that I feel like I've invested much in the way of contributing to this.

I tend to agree with a couple of opinions, namely...

I'd only like to know if we're totally off track
and...

all we need/want to know is if there actually is an answer and if it can be actually found with what we're given in game
Again, don't give my vote too much weight. I would still be happy to contribute with reports if that's desired and I'll continue to watch the development of this thread.

Happy travels out there!
 
I love a good mystery but (as I've mentioned before) my current gameplay ambitions preclude my going after these. I'm happy to report them (although I'm no longer certain that's desired - feel free to clarify).
I can't say that I feel like I've invested much in the way of contributing to this.
Sorry, I'll try to clarify (not the simple thing with my level of English). Tip Off (TO) investigation (yes, another one) still running, earlier I've just pointed out that the OP doesn't participate actively in this new initiative.
Investigation is completely open and all participants and information are only welcome. However it's my fault that there is no good documentation written and assembled in one place for this project and no dedicated thread on the official forums (beside some reports in the other Tip Off related threads). Active communication takes place mostly on discords (IRH, CEC, Census, reports on Cannon and others, statistics says about 195 contributors, hmm, not always voluntary=) )
Also this time the TO investigation has been divided in two parts (and, I must admit, mostly oriented on "technical" matters):
1) Tip Off target locations and related mechanics - crash sites, unidentified wreckage's, bases and resulting end messages (at the present state of the game commander can visit and scan TO locations without appropriate mission in the mailbox)
2) Tip Off missions and the mechanics of their assignment.
Primary effort has been concentrated on the first part, as in fact Tip Off mission can be assigned only to currently "active" TO locations. One can say that Tip Off Locations are "independent variables" - having their own attributes and activity timetable - while Tip Off missions are "dependent functions". It's not the fact of the "mission" assignment that activates the related site, but the contrary - a mission can be assigned only to an already active site, end even the text of the mission depends on this sites "attributes" (i.e. subgroup of logs attached to this site).
And in fact the effort and time invested in the first part is already quite fruitful. All ever reported locations examined and sorted (collecting cartographic, material/commodities data), literally hundreds of end messages logs recorded. Quite a bunch of new discovered. Rules and timetables established for all "blinking" sites both in Colonia and in the Bubble. Proved pattern established by commander @Ian Doncaster. Finally the end messages logs division into subsets has been established (mostly due to their "strange" dependency on game client localization).
However, at least for the Bubble, some approximations let us suppose that not ALL TO locations has been discovered yet (~ 30-50 still unknown crash sites, even less data on the final count of the planetary bases with TO messages... ~60?).
The same concerns tip off end-messages. Most likely ~3-5 have not yet discovered.
So there is still work to do.
2) About Tip Off mission assignment mechanics. So far we have the post of commander @Ian Doncaster (and comments/hints already posted by @Dominic Corner) with some additional ideas/precision's by other commanders. So missions (many), minor faction reputation (may be just as the consequence of the latter), "geo-check"/distance and quite probably something else - that all we have now. Besides my own recent experiment that shows that game engine do not assign TO missions not only to already assigned and still valid locations, but also omits those that has been already scanned (recently and can be still on "cooldown"). That's is not 100% proved - I really hate grinding and not really experienced in that kind of activity - but after quick scan of all known active TO locations and spending 4 days (and large amount of credits on donations) in "grind-friendly" systems (sothys-ceos-robigo) my commander has received zero TO.
So, what kind of data is required? This depend on current tasks, at the moment:
1) Any new (not listed in the TO Archives) TO locations - always appreciated. Timing can be of big help (received, valid up to - for missions). Also, that can be not necessary newly acquired missions - many of commanders maintain there proper archives and logs. This information is also valuable.
2) Systems where given TO mission has been assigned (for geo-check testing)
3) In ideal case I'm trying to acquire all 6 possible logs from the sites - members of the "rare" message subgroups (i.e. using 6 different game client localisations - that require vising site by 6 commanders/accounts)
The best way to provide this data - using the appropriate data submission forms. Or contact me elsewhere (forums, discords).

Finally, I hope that when the "technical" part will be finished all acquired data can be transferred to "lore-friendly" commanders/groups (pity, that is not my case) for further analysis.

o7
 
A cynicism that unfortunately comes from previous experiences. Galnet articles and every outpost stories or hidden message we've met so far were always self-contained and self-conclusive*, I have a hard time imagining tip-offs aren't :) My point is that telling us is a win win: if they are, we won't get frustrated by digging a shallow hole. If they aren't, more and more people will get into the mystery.
It is kind of a dilemma with all those mysteries out there, not only Tip Off related - if someone tells us that there is more to be found, then the mystery is probably solved in no time, presumably by certain well organized player groups mostly. Other players will start to complain that there was no chance to participate / to be the first to discover and blame FD for that. We had that already. And I'm sure it also is frustrating for FD if they spend hours/days of time to develop a mystery which then gets solved withing minutes/hours. On the other hand, If nobody tells us and there is really nothing to be found, players will for sure waste a lot of their time and again, accuse FD for being not respectful.
Me for example, spent days on finding "the distant blue ball in the sky" from Orion's Folly mystery. I checked all nearby systems within a range of 30 ly and It was really frustrating to not find anything mystery-specific. It felt like I wasted my time.

Speaking of Tip Offs , here is another, more practical example:

Sit Rep:

Hansel to command.

The breadcrumbs have been laid for the wicked witch.

Moving to rendezvous with Gretel in sector 16

Now, is there something to be found in (planetary) sector 16 or not?
We can just speculate.
If we decide "no, there is nothing", it feels rather disappointing, while the story sounds engaging and we wish there is more to be found.
However, if we assume that there must be something, we have to find out how a planet is split into sectors and/or start eyeballing the planet.
This can take quite an amount of time and, in case we find nothing, we can not be 100% sure if this is really true, or if we just missed 'it', or if we even did the planetary sector thing wrong. Frustrating!

In such situations I would really prefer to know whether there is something, or not.
But the rule of thumb seems to be, that most of the time there is nothing more behind those mysteries, which is rather disappointing.

Creating engaging mysteries is an art of its own, but the demand for such riddles among the players seems to be quite high.


...
Given the way previous mysteries and FD interaction have played out, if Dom can give an answer to this, it's probably not particularly earth-shattering ...
Agreed. I too think the most relevant information is already available and personally would love to hear what Dom has to say regarding Tip Offs.
 
It is kind of a dilemma with all those mysteries out there, not only Tip Off related - if someone tells us that there is more to be found, then the mystery is probably solved in no time, presumably by certain well organized player groups mostly. Other players will start to complain that there was no chance to participate / to be the first to discover and blame FD for that. We had that already.
While this is certainly true, I don't see how waiting for someone to stumble upon the key hint, or having an epiphany helps the matter :) Keeping the mystery solving confined to small groups of very dedicated individuals, to avoid them being "crowd-solved" by large groups, does not improve anyhow how players that were not part of the solving will feel. On the other hand, knowing that there actually is a solution could lead more people to contribute, making them feel involved and to have had an actual contribution when the mystery is solved.

To make a practical example, I usually consider myself lucky when I can log in for a couple of hours a week. This means that the probability that I'll ever be able to find something in game is practically 0, and I'd rather invest my time in activities with more ROI than, for example, following up a tip off that will give me a seemingly self-ended message and maybe a couple thousands credits. But what if I knew that there actually is a solution to the tip off mystery? Then I'd feel that following up the tip off, collecting its info, and checking if it's a new message was actually worth something, and if someday someone will solve the mystery, I'd also feel like I contributed to it in some way.
 
Can not hold it - just created some kind of "illustrative material" to the discussion above, that (with some approximation) can show the evolution of players interest to TO related problematic.
To be more accurate:
1) this in fact the screen capture of the source data used for automatic calculation of "crashed ship" and "unidentified wreck" type TO locations "timetable" (doesn't include bases)
2) only correct data from active players has been used if it was shared on any of related resources I have access to (so this can not represent "whole" players database)
3) legend:
rows - individual TO locations
columns - "ticks" (weekly period between two "server maintenance" procedures) from 17/12/2015 (on the right) to present days (on the left). Light blue vertical lines denotes each 12-tick long (~3 month period) "big cycle".
and finally colored cells means
  • either a Tip Off mission were obtained for a given site
  • either site has been checked/visited with "positive" (green) or "negative" (orange) result (negative means there were nothing there)
... and the data has been shared or reported by at least one commander
Beside giving an idea about players interest this is also a good illustration of the scale of current investigation.
Placing it behind spoiler tag to reduce post length

TO interest.png
 
Hi there,

Lots of interesting theories.

Just wondering if you'd like to know the answer to this or if you'd prefer it to remain a mystery that you can speculate about and continue to investigate?

Thanks,
Dom
Hi Dominic, thank you for replying to the community! I only have one question: can you definitely confirm that the Mysterious Stranger has nothing to do with The Dark Wheel?
 
Hi Dominic, thank you for replying to the community! I only have one question: can you definitely confirm that the Mysterious Stranger has nothing to do with The Dark Wheel?
I think that one Dom might not be answering, though who knows. As far, all out of game ties to Raxxla and DW are out of reach, but there are so many questions that could be posed, like the DW missions (i.e. Obfuscated in the outer rim) if they are taken out, or they do not appear to a fact that there is system leading faction change somewhere resulting for these to become dormant (but still in game).
There are just so many questions, that we should explore....
I am not vs. helper things to understand game mechanics (in game learning on those will help to find things that are off the usual), but if it is more than a technical reason... maybe we still need to give it a go...
 
i scanned t1 and d5 (but not the terminals who give time)
i got 2 data package in my left pannel
i ran away
but what next ?
i sell the data packages anywhere and that's all !?
what am i missing ???
after scanning d5 (the only one really needed to be scanned) - "core data terminal" - you've got a text log - tip off endmessage, one from the "corporate data log" group - in your left panel. You can sell datal and yes, that's all. Besides there are another 23 logs in this group.
 
after scanning d5 (the only one really needed to be scanned) - "core data terminal" - you've got a text log - tip off endmessage, one from the "corporate data log" group - in your left panel. You can sell datal and yes, that's all. Besides there are another 23 logs in this group.
ok, thanks
so i don't need to scan the other terminals to found the buyer of the data (and the stranger stays mysterious...)
back to the CG then :)

edit : the core data terminal is always the one with the green beacon up in the sky ?
 
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ok, thanks
so i don't need to scan the other terminals to found the buyer of the data (and the stranger stays mysterious...)
back to the CG then :)

edit : the core data terminal is always the one with the green beacon up in the sky ?
yep, and it is present on all variations of the large size (+++) bases (disregarding security level) and on all medium size with high security. Exception - medium "extraction" bases - also all variations (just because they are in fact "large")
Can you share the exact system you've got this mission?
 
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