Need help making exploring interesting.

I've gone exploring for the first time. I've got an Asp explorer with a 62 ly jump range. I'm about 6,000 lys out and heading for the Arcadian stream before turning in towards the core...........grief, it's dull. My eyes are starting to bleed and my brain is dribbling out

I've discovered loads of virgin systems, a couple of earth likes and a couple of water worlds. Only getting geological signals from rocky bodies so far......It's so boring that I've concluded that I can't be doing it right.

I was jumping to any scoopable star but I've now narrowed it down to A's and F's only.
I D scan each system.
If more than 4 bodies I do a FS Scan.
Earth like and Waterworlds get a surface scan.

After doing this should I be getting other locations besides geological
 
I've gone exploring for the first time. I've got an Asp explorer with a 62 ly jump range. I'm about 6,000 lys out and heading for the Arcadian stream before turning in towards the core...........grief, it's dull. My eyes are starting to bleed and my brain is dribbling out

I've discovered loads of virgin systems, a couple of earth likes and a couple of water worlds. Only getting geological signals from rocky bodies so far......It's so boring that I've concluded that I can't be doing it right.

I was jumping to any scoopable star but I've now narrowed it down to A's and F's only.
I D scan each system.
If more than 4 bodies I do a FS Scan.
Earth like and Waterworlds get a surface scan.

After doing this should I be getting other locations besides geological
I go exploring for the scenic vistas. You'll have to look a little harder to find these - moons in close orbit to their parent planet, moons with interesting geological features (not POIs, but procgen canyons, craters, rifts, etc), planets in close proximity to stars, moons or planets with very short day / night cycles, nebula (which unfortunately were nerfed with the lighting update), etc.

Now if you have no interest in astronomy and cool cosmic vistas and only get a thrill from finding "space treasure", then I'm afraid there's no advice I can offer you to make exploration enjoyable.
 
Whenever I'm long-haul travelling and find the "space madness" creeping up, I mix things up a bit by checking out the local scenery. Open EDSM's gaalctic map and check out the POIs in the area. There might be a Glowing Green giant nearby, or a triple-ELW, or even a small planetary nebula with anemones on one of the planets. Now, visiting stuff that other people have previously found isn't really "exploring", it's just "being a tourist"... but not only does it give some more interesting things to look at than the same ol', same ol, but it helps remind me that while the odd and bizarre things in the galaxy might be really really rare, they are out there to be found... and maybe there'll be something just as interesting in the next star system...

If there's no interesting-sounding POIs nearby, then just try looking about in the map in Realistic mode for something odd or different - maybe a red giant, or a black hole, or a carbon star - something you either have never seen or maybe haven't seen in a while. At the very least, you'll cross off a Codex item.

Unfortunately, if you want to find a starport to land at, sell your data and take a break, you've picked one of the worst opossible directions to head off to. Unlike in Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in ED it's the Eastern Spiral Arms that are under-developed. Once you pass Morgan's Rock, there's nothing out that way. The nearest starport to pretty much anywhere in the Arcadian Stream is the one next to Sag A in the Core.
 
I did start a thread for this very reason a little while back, you may find some ideas there. https://forums.frontier.co.uk/threads/how-do-you-explore.515843/

A quick summary of things I do; I like to search the Galaxy map for interesting things first. Using the first tab in the Galaxy map you can learn a bit more information about what is in the system before you visit it; It shows all star classes and their luminosity within the system. I like to land on metal-rich planets to scoop some material; it helps break things up a bit. Anything that looks a little odd I will fly out to and check it out, usually taking a few screenshots.

If you only think of exploration as scanning system after system and don't actually take a closer look at things then you will probably not enjoy yourself. Also this activity isn't for everyone and that's okay too. Maybe try a few suggestion people give you here and if that still doesn't appeal to you then don't try to force it; that's how you burn out. The last thing you want to do is get 10's of thousands of Ly's from the bubble then decide you really don't want to keep going. It will leave you with the options of:
A) A very long, even more boring trip back.
B) self-destructing and losing all your data or
C) quitting for a while then proceeding with either option A or B when you return.

best of luck Commander
 
Last edited:
If you are done for after 6000ly then you might want to turn back or stick with short trips. It's not for everyone and I'd pretty much forget looking for Fdev secret stash of galactic goodies.
It really is a game or experience that you make your own if you can get into that particular groove that keeps you going .
I travel for the sights and loneliness as it relaxes me. Your imagination often makes more impact that anything else.
An acquired taste to some degree.
 
For long-term motivation, I have a list of extremely-rare-yet-theoretically-plausible things to look out for. The possibility of finding one is something that helps keep me exploring.

  • An Earth-like planet with an Earth-like moon orbiting it. No-one's ever seen one, except for the hand-crafted ones in the Bubble.
  • An Earth-like in a Trojan orbit. A dozen or so have already been found.
  • An Earth-like in a highly eccentric, comet-like orbit. Again, there's already a dozen or more of these.
  • A "Glowing green giant" of my own.
  • An Earth-like planet that's an exact match for Earth parameters. It's surprisingly difficult; the best I've found so far is 5 out of 8 parameters matching.
  • An Earth-like (or HMC) planet that would be a good analogue for Tatooine (hot, dry. breathable air, matching twin suns in close orbit).
  • An Earth-like that's a "natural Bast" - that is, a star system with a single star, and a single planet, and that planet is an Earth-like. The way planets in the Original Elite all used to be.
 
I would suggest you to join an expedition and go exploring together with others and engaging in social activities and chatter along the way. certainly a very different experience from exploring alone.
 
If you're not enjoying it then turn back and do something else - exploring doesn't suit everyone. If you want to find more different stuff then check out the Codex in-game, most sectors have some stuff and seeing where it lives might give you some clues about finding other stuff.

(There is also a better searchable codex on edsm, but that might be too complex for your needs).
 
Really appreciate the tone of your replies folks, very helpful and civil.


Reading the sub text of your replies I'm getting the message "Look a bit harder" and "chill out and enjoy the scenery".........fair comment. I have been limiting myself to about 15 circa 59 ly jumps an evening so as not to get burn out, perhaps I'll slow down a bit.

A couple of mentions of edsm, I've never heard of it, I need to check it out. I'm not a regular forumite and don't tend to use other resources.....it might be just what I need.

The reason I headed east was that I had found the Elite exploration heat map and wanted to find un-trodden routes........Perhaps now I've found out why my chosen direction is un-trodden :rolleyes:

Dr. Nagi........Joining a group does sound interesting but I assume I'd have to set that up in the bubble so we could start out together?

Quick explorer newbie questions: What does the surface scan give me that the FSS doesn't apart from specific lat and long of locations?
Is there any way of knowing what cartographic data I have on board without visiting a station?

Thanks for your suggestions :cool:
 
Dr. Nagi........Joining a group does sound interesting but I assume I'd have to set that up in the bubble so we could start out together?
You don't have to set up anything if you want to join something that is already there^^
Some expeditions start from Colonia, some from the bubble, some from "random" locations... doesn't matter.
You can take a look on EDSM "Expeditions" page or join fleetcomm discord to see what is currently going on in the world of exploration, some are also posted here in this forum.
 
What does the surface scan give me that the FSS doesn't apart from specific lat and long of locations?
Extra credits, if credits are what you're after. And an extra "Mapped By" Tag. That latter one is especially handy if you want to lay down a trail of "Garik Was Here" breadcrumbs, but everything in the system has already been Discovered (but not Mapped) by previous visitors.

Is there any way of knowing what cartographic data I have on board without visiting a station?
Not directly from in-game sources, no. Third-party tools like EDD and the aforementioned EDSM can track your visited systems and scans, and give you an estimate of how valuable your scan data is, but since it has no way of knowing for sure whether you're going to be a "First Discoverer" or not, its estimates are a minimum guess; your First Discovery and other bonuses may amount to a considerably higher total amount than what is indicated.

The game generally isn't very good at helping you keep track of any weird and interesting things you've discovered. The in-game Codex is nearly useless at this. If you find an interesting system (say, one with a ringed Earth-like planet in it) and you want to remember in six month's time where that planet was, you've got four options:
  • Physical pen-and-paper
  • A spreadsheet, either alt-tabbing out to one or keeping one on a separate computer or notepad
  • Taking screenshots (at about 5MB each, that cna chew up your disk space if you're too profligate witht he F10 button)
  • Using third party apps.
 
Last edited:
FWIW, I grew bored with the "traditional" approach to exploration myself. That is, pick some very far away location and hope to find something interesting along the way. These days most of my exploration is 'beachcombing', where I look for undiscovered systems within a few hundred lightyears from the Bubble. Once I find a region with one or two such systems, then I do a detailed search pattern of the area, slowly making my own bubble of explored systems.

This has a couple of advantages for me. First, the 'game' is to find as many unexplored systems hidden in an area that most players skip over because they assume they have to travel thousands of lightyears for their own discoveries. Since mapping and FSS was added to the game, there are many systems that have been partially explored and not mapped, so I'll complete what someone else started. I don't map everything, just the interesting planets (ones with geological POIs, along with the ELWs, etc). This also lets me get my name on IRL systems (HIPs, HRs, etc).

The other advantage is I'm usually 5-10 jumps from the Bubble, so if I get bored, it's easy to get back to civilization. I can also change my outfitting if I find something interesting, something I think might respond to a research limpet for example.

While I'm trying to find undiscovered systems, I actually enjoy encountering system discovered by people who are active here in the forums. Most names I see are unknown to me, but once in awhile I'm like - "Hey, Drew (Aunt, Lizard, etc) has been here!" If you ever see anything tagged by a Jenny, rejoice - she's my primary beachcomber (alt account) these days! 👧
 
This is what my son says, "Dad, it is like watching paint dry". Well his old Pop loves it.

What I do is give myself missions and change them frequently. I might just be looking for arsenic today, tomorrow it might be a sector scour for AE/BEs. The next day I'll just, as Old Duck said, beachcombe. It amazes me how many commanders are so concerned about how far, how fast, or how high they can go while they zoom past some truly amazing sights on neglected worlds (such as IWs). The Forge can bore you, sure, but then again it is always tossing out some truly beautiful and awesome systems.

When the madness gets to you, turn around, turn left, forget that arm, because it isn't going anywhere. Go home, refresh, send some Pirates to their maker, or become a widget tycoon with the biggest fastest baddest semi-truck ever. Look thru your materials list, take the opportunity as you look for POIs and Raxxla, to wander around pickup up all those materials you'll need for Palin or Tani or, heaven forbid, Tarquin. Nothing made me hate Fujin Tea more than Tarquin.

Play it your way, it is your only choice out in the black.

Safe skies, commander, and when all else fails turn it off. Those 400 billion stars aren't going anywhere. Come back when you get the itch to get out of the murdering monkey Bubble.
 
I do wish Frontier would add little procedural missions for us to do out in the black.

Just an occasional message every few hours/days from the Pilot's Federation or Universal Cartographics: "we're interested in this system, can you scan it please?", "we've received a distress beacon in X system, please investigate", "we've lost a survey ship near Y planet of Z star, find the wreck and scan it". Maybe let us switch them off if we want.

I love the freeform flow of exploration but it would also be nice to be drip fed a little bit of externally-motivated structure from time to time.
 
I think to some degree exploration can also be an acquired taste. When I started playing, I knew I wanted to explore, and so all of my bubble activities of earning money and building ships was done with this goal in mind. But when I finally left the bubble and a 7kly (each way) trip to get Palin unlocked, I pounded it out in about a day, and had nothing but anxiety the whole time. I was so far from civilization, but also terribly far away from being able to do anything with my friends if they logged in. And so much jumping and scanning and jumping! I wasn't sure if this was something I could do long term. But I also enjoyed the "magnificent desolation" and the relaxing travel among the stars. Eventually I tried going a little further. And then a little further again. And now I have a second account for doing things in the bubble with friends, if the situation arises.

I'm sure there's a similar story for many other people, where they didn't just jump in head-first. And it can definitely get very boring if you let it. But now I'm at a point where it's like playing a slot-machine or rolling dice with every hyperjump. Each one could be the one that finds me something truly unique. And if not, I'll at least have the opportunity to see some beautiful sights, or put my name on something.
 
There's one thing that's missing from pretty much every other activity that is present in exploration, and that I like: unpredictability. Sure, most of the time you don't see anything unexpected, but there are the few times that you do.
Meanwhile, back in the bubble, you always know what you can expect to face. Even the signal sources have threat levels on them to tell you this.

But yeah, I'd say that exploration is definitely an acquired taste. Compared to the total player base, few people do it. Those who head out on just some direction into the deep galaxy and not fly between known destinations, even less so.

If anything though, I'd eradicate the 5k ly requirement for Palin. If it's to draw people into exploration, it's going about it in probably the worst way.

Personally, I'd say that the best thing about exploration in Elite is the generated galaxy. Unfortunately, for some time now, Frontier doesn't seem to share this view. But we do have what we already have, and if you like that, you can still explore it.
 
While I'm trying to find undiscovered systems, I actually enjoy encountering system discovered by people who are active here in the forums. Most names I see are unknown to me, but once in awhile I'm like - "Hey, Drew (Aunt, Lizard, etc) has been here!" If you ever see anything tagged by a Jenny, rejoice - she's my primary beachcomber (alt account) these days! 👧
The exploration 'nemesis' system - when all your target systems have been tagged by the same Cmdr!

My current nemesis is Cmdr SwankyCriminal (never seen them on the forums, sadly) who I'm torn between hating for fully scanning all the HIP and HD systems in Apodis, and respecting for having taken the time to map the most distant body in each one :D
 
One advantage of taking the un-trodden path is that everything is virgin, but I suppose that true of most routes given the size of the universe.

Just found a system with 2 water worlds and a gas giant that looks just like a Humbug (think confectionary)........

......Germinating idea: screenies of gas giants that look like boiled sweets complete with name of sweet.

Thanks for the replies folks.
 
  • Taking screenshots (at about 5MB each, that cna chew up your disk space if you're too profligate witht he F10 button)
  • Using third party apps.
Taking those in conjunction you can set up EDD to automatically convert your screenshots to .png and delete the .bmp to save a fair bit of space there.
 
Top Bottom