Realizing that money is a curse in Elite Dangerous
Money is everything in Elite. The reason you fight, the reason you explore
When the Horizons update was released for Elite Dangerous, the fine folk at Frontier filled my space bank account with credits so I could test the new features without having to dip into my own pocket—which was empty anyway. Suddenly, I went from having a few thousand credits, which is basically spare change in Elite, to being a multimillionaire. People sink hundreds of hours into the game and earn only a fraction of that, but I was too drunk on wealth to realize how utterly undeserved my windfall was.
Like Richard Pryor in classic 1995 comedy Brewster’s Millions, I immediately start throwing money around like a fool. My reliable old Cobra gets scrapped, replaced by an Anaconda battleship fitted with the best weapons and upgrades. At 147 million credits it’s not even the most expensive ship in the game, but for many it’s a reward for hours of toil. I feel like some toff who casually buys a London flat with his inheritance that it would take a hard-working family a lifetime to afford.
So I’m tooling around in my Anaconda like the King of Space, when suddenly I feel lost. Before Frontier’s cash injection, getting money (and dying trying) had been my main motivation in Elite. Patiently trying to earn the 6 million required to purchase an Asp by cashing in bounties and exploring the galaxy. But now that I have all the money in the world and can buy as many Asps as I want, I’m bored. I feel like some jaded, lonely old lord pottering around in his big, dusty mansion waiting for the bloodline to die out. Money is everything in Elite. The reason you fight, the reason you explore. And when you don’t have to struggle for it anymore, the game suddenly feels hollow. Empty. To compensate, I start living an extravagant lifestyle. I drop 84 million on a Beluga Liner just to see what it flies like, then I trade it back in at a massive loss. I’m an affront to hardworking commanders everywhere. I see other players in Haulers going about their business, moving cargo, trading,
making an honest wage. I wonder if they think I’m some high-level player who busted his ass for this Anaconda, rather than the monied fraud that I am.
I take on a few bounty missions, but they’re trivial. There’s no pleasure to be found in blasting tiny, helpless pirate ships apart in an Anaconda. Well, there is, but it’s short-lived. So I decide it’s time to give up my riches. If there was a way to transfer credits to another player in Elite, I would have given my millions to some random commander in a Hauler and passed the curse onto them. But there isn’t, so the only solution to the problem is wiping my save. I take the Anaconda for one last flight—it does feel really nice being behind the wheel of this thing—then I take a deep breath and erase myself from existence.
Riches to rags
I start a new game. I have 1,000 credits and a Sidewinder, and I feel like my life has purpose again. I plug myself back into the economy, sweating away with the working Joes. And I don’t miss my fortune. I’ll never be able to afford another Anaconda, but I don’t need one. Just being able to afford my own Asp will be equally satisfying. I take off, set a course for deep space, and begin a new adventure, free from the shackles of opulence. In the distance, the world’s smallest violin plays for me.
THIS MONTH Got bored of being rich, in space. ALSO PLAYED DirtRally
Money can’t buy you happiness, even in space.
You can’t go wrong with a basic Sidewinder.