The core of Elite's gameplay is making money. It was radical in the notion of not having levels and powering up, but instead giving you credits to spend on whatever you like. You can progress the game however you like, but money is the key to it.
Combat generates money via killing wanted players (bounty hunting) or redeeming combat bonds.
Bounty hunting is simply the case of targetting a ship and letting your ship passively scan it. The type of ship, name of the pilot and whether it's WANTED or not is listed in the bottom left corner of your screen. A wanted ship is free to be engaged, a kill will grant you a claim on the bounty, you can claim this at the system that issued it (see your transactions tab, on the left hand panel).
You can increase the rate of return from bounty hunting by fitting a Kill Warrant Scanner, this will allow you to collect bounties of ships even if not in the system of origin (N.B. ships must still be listed as WANTED before you can legally engage).
Combat Zones reward a fixed bond for each ship destroyed, these ships are harder to kill as they will all have military armour.
Bounties and bonds, along with any fines you may have, can be handed in or paid off in the system of origin at pretty much any station. This is done through the 'Contacts' section of 'Station Services'.
Trading profit is made by buying commodities at a low price and selling them elsewhere for a higher price. Whilst simple in concept, in such a large game it can be tricky to find the best trading routes.
Sometimes independent traders can be found in space offering a good price on commodities.
Smuggling is similar to commodity trading in that it is bought from a commodities market - the difference is selling it. YOU can often get a good price by selling cargo that is illicit in some systems on the black-market.
The black market isn't available at all stations, so check before trying to sneak it in past the police.
Similar to smuggling in that your goods are sold on the black-market, but instead of buying them, you steal them from other ships. This is best achieved by shooting out cargo hatches or using hatch-breaker limpets to do the same. Sometimes AI will drop cargo when under attack as an attempt to apese you whilst they get away with their lives.
Attacking unwanted ships incurs bounties, this will attract attention from AI and humans.
Raw materials can be mined from the rings of planets. Only pristine metalic rings produce profitable materials. These materials need to be processed by an on-ship refinery. It is quite frankly, boring.
Most ships come with a basic discovery scanner, this can be used when in super-cruise to "ping" an unmapped system. This will reveal all stellar objects up to a certain range depending on the price of your discovery scanner. This data can then be sold to stations over 20ly away from the source system through Universal Cartographics in Station Services.
Further value can be derived by scanning each stellar object, this is done passively by your ships scanner when you have locked onto the object and moved close enough. The bottom left hand hud will detail the object name once it has been scanned successfully.
Optionally a Detailed Surface Scanner can be used as an upgrade to the passive scanner (this takes up a module slot, where the default does not). This again further increases payouts of objects.
Being the first person to do a passive scan of an object will reward a 50% bonus and your name being displayed next to the object in the system map.
Missions are by far the easiest way to get started, they will generally be about collecting or delivering cargo or information (the latter will not take up any hold space). Or combat related, including assinations that may result in a bounty on your head.
There is often one or two Community Goals running which usually require a large amount of one item being traded or a large number of bounties being handed in at a particular station.
These work on tiers, the higher the tier achieved the more money rewarded to all players. The higher your contribution to the goal, the higher the reward within each tier. These can often provide millions in credits.[ Elite Menu ]