Credits to CMDR Pete for the post thumbnail.
13.79 US dollars is one Cr.
Yep, that’s right. Or fairly close if these calculations are right.
Now I’m not a veteran or newbie at the expansive, in-depth world of the game Elite: Dangerous. Picked the thing up Thanksgiving, was blown away. And shook my fist in the heavens for getting rid of my Saitek X52 five months earlier.
I love flying across the universe, exploring new systems and all that other jazz. Having the discovery scanner make that “Reaper” noise and telling you that you discovered 50 new objects in a star system. Pitting a Cobra Mk III against that nasty Imperial Courier that wanted your cargo, but is now going to feel your wrath for interdicting you out of super cruise.
But the best thing I love is the trade. Dynamic markets, finding the best trade routes and bringing in a “pretty penny”. I even love the rare goods feature even more, scouring the galaxy to find all these goodies to bring them to the most profitable buyer.
But after logging a good 40 hours of spaceflight, I started to wonder behind the mechanics of the game. Rather, the feasibility and profits of running goods from station to station. I started to wonder, how much is Akiyama Market hiring me for to buy them 2 bits of coffee? How much am I really paying at the pump to fill ‘er up on a Type-6 light transport? And how much are those peeps paying for Baltah’sine Vacuum Krill?
That was a mystery that took a bit of thinking and researching, but rather than smile to myself over my Cheerios, I’ll tell you. I’ll also break it down for newbies coming in who’ve bought the game and regular non-Elite players; grab something to eat/drink and enjoy the read!
First, I needed something in-game to compare to real life. I turned to food as that was the most relatable thing to me. I did some poking around, and found that on average, a barista or small business will buy coffee at $10 a pound.
1 pound of coffee = $10
That out of the way, you carry cargo in Elite: Dangerous by the ton. It’s a universal standard; some ships carry more tonnage than others; fighters being the smallest (2 to 8 tons, depending if you ditch a scanner for a cargo rack) to corvettes having about 300-400 tons of cargo if configured properly. In scale, a Type-6 freighter carries about 96 tons of goods.
So then, I had to upscale the price to match Elite: Dangerous prices:
1 pound of coffee = $10
1 ton = 2000 lbs.
1 ton of coffee = $20,000
So for the money that’ll buy a ton of coffee, I can buy myself a somewhat-featured Toyota Prius. Nice.
That being said and done, I marked it against the price of coffee in Elite: Dangerous. On average, coffee costs between 1300-1600 Cr per ton. So let’s go the middle road and say 1450.
1 ton of coffee = $20,000
1 ton of coffee = 1450 Cr.
And do the conversion math:
1450 / 2000 (price of coffee in Cr divide by how many pounds makes a ton) = 0.725 Cr.
So now we’re getting somewhere! $10 USD equals 0.725 Cr. Now I’ve yet to see anyone make a portion of a credit, so that will not do. Whole creds only. However, we at least have a reference point.
Now for some ratios!
(0.725) = (1)
(10) = (x)
So basically if .725 Cr equals $10, how many USD does 1 Cr equals? The answer is:
1 Cr = $13.79 (rounded)
(10 X 1)
(10 / 0.725)
So now, one whole Credit in its proper entirety is the equivalent of $13.79. That’s progress!
This brings up some interesting conundrums.
- A $25,000 car would only cost about 1813 Cr.
- A Pizza Hut meal will be 2 Cr.
- It’ll cost between 2 to 4 Cr to fill up your car (takes me about 3 to fill up my Jeep).
- If you worked $10 for 40 hours a week ($1600 a month), your monthly salary would be 120 Cr.
- An airline ticket would be 29 Cr.
- An Xbox One would be 33 Cr.
- A $200,000 house would be 14,500 Cr.
Now that our perspective has been broadened, do you mean to tell me that I can chuck 4 tons of consumer iPad-type electronics out of McKee Ring, make it back to Barsanti Enterprise in 15 minutes, and have enough money to buy me a brand new car and have enough money to cover a low-end salary for three months?
GD 219 – McKee Ring = Selling Consumer Electronics for 6880 Cr a ton
Brani – Barsanti Enterprise = Buying Consumer Electronics for 7433 Cr a ton
Profit for selling 4 tons of cargo = 2212 Cr.
*Prices good of 1/8/2016
**Non-Elite gamers/readers: Market prices are not static. They change in-game every second, depending on scripted variables and which players are buying/selling goods. Hence, what may work one day may dry up the next. Disclaimer is here in case a fellow rushes to go replicate that same transaction, flops because the prices changed a week later, they make a lot less, then comes griping about “that trade route is wrong!”
It’d seem so. Now I know some of you are saying “Screw this, it’d be great if that’s real!” I will admit, that did rake in a bit of profit.
But a question is bothering me even more. How much does it cost for these starships to operate in space? Better yet, how much does it cost for one of these things?
First off, let’s address how much fuel these ships use. Again, fuel is calculated by tons. No surprise as actual aircraft is done by pounds.
On average, one ton of fuel costs about 50 Cr. This varies as smaller more remote stations will charge you higher gas prices as a big populated hub. So:
1 ton of fuel = 50 Cr.
1 ton of fuel = $698.50
So for an Xbox One and some change, you can purchase one ton of starship-grade hydrogen fuel for your ship. So to fill up some common ships standard:
- Sidewinder (8 tons) = $5,588
- Cobra Mk. III (16 tons) = $11,176
- Lakon Type-7 Freighter (32 tons) = $22,352
**Note: Prices are average; actual gas prices depend on your FSD drive, ship mass and availability of the commodity Hydrogen where you take on gas.
So keeping these ships running are no laughing matter; so I’m pretty much forking out $22k for gas when I land my Type-7 after a long trade run.
And the ships? What would an average Joe be faced to own one of these impressive machines? As follows:
- Sidewinder: 32,000 Cr = $441,280
- Adder: 87,808 Cr = $1,210,872
- Cobra Mk. III: 379,718 Cr = $5,236,311
- Lakon Type-6: 1,045,945 Cr = $14,423,582
- Lakon Type-7: 17,472,252 Cr = $240,942,355
- Python: 56,978.180 Cr = $785,729,102
- Anaconda: 146,969,451 Cr = $2,026,708,729
- Imperial Cutter: 208,969,451 Cr = $2,881,688,729
Whichever choice you pick, it’s quite a bit of money. The simple starting ship, the Sidewinder Mk. 1, would be $441k. That’s a pretty classy 5 to 6 bedroom house in a comfy suburban area here in Knoxville, usually bought by doctors and the like. Now I definitely understand why when you start, your “ship” is on loan, so are the equipment. A measly 32,000 Cr doesn’t seem so small now…
I won’t belabor over each ship, but to put it in perspective:
- An Adder would take the same amount of cash to buy an NYC apartment in Manhattan for keeps.
- A Cobra Mk. III would be in equivalent in price to a used Cessna CitationJet.
- A Type-6 would cost as much as a Bombardier Globaljet, almost in size to a CRJ.
- A Type-7 would cost as much as an F-22 Raptor.
- A Python costs almost the same as an Airbus A380, the largest airliner the world.
- The Anaconda and Cutter are short about a billion of the supposed $3.9 billion it took to build the new World Trade Center in NYC.
Did I lose you, paling in shock that you’re flying a multi-million (or multi-billion) dollar ship? No? Good. We’re nearing the end, actually. (Hopefully you still have some coffee or cereal left!) And that comes up to how much those precious rare goods cost, and how much moolah those people are paying you to do their stuff.
First, A brief sample of rare goods!
- It costs a player $16,400 for a ton for live Hecate Sea Worms, which are essentially like real-life bloodworms on hydrothermal vents. Galactic average is $120,483.
- Likewise, a ton of CD-75 Kitten Coffee can be bought for $32,724 a ton. Galactic average is $131,984. If you’re curious, that’d probably cost you about $66 per pound at the supermarket.
And last, how much are those boffins paying us to do their work for them?! You would think that they can do some of this stuff themselves if they’re paying you so much credits…
Smuggling: “Ah, hello Commander, These crates here will pass a visual check, but scanners pick it up for what it is. I want you to haul 40 tons of Narcotics over to Barclay Vision. Haven’t flown a ship since the new hyperdrives came out. Got a buyer lined up. Get this over there and I’ll see what I can do to the tune of $8,003,233.”
Standard Cargo Delivery: “Looking for competent delivery drivers to haul 4 tons Synthetic Fabrics to Ross 754! Reward is $188,923. All applicants welcome but a local background check will be conducted.”
Supply Requisition: “Sorry to bother you, Commander. Station supplies are running low. Source us 8 tons of Coffee, and we’ll reimburse you $544,125.”
Data Delivery: “Citizen, you must rush over to Chimba immediately! The Federation Citizens must know what is going on in our government! We’ll pay you $33,096 upon arrival!”
Selling Map Data: “Universal Cartographics will pay you $60,676 for your map data of this solar system!”
One more thing!! (*impersonate Asian uncle and shake stick*). Fines and bounties…
- Reckless flying racks up $1517 per offense.
- The space police will senselessly start shooting you over an immediate $3034 offense.
- On a Mostly Harmless rank, a good bounty may rake in $386,120
- On December 17, 2015, player Miku Hatsune was evaluated to have a total bounty of $13,795,516 by the Brani Security Office (they were also the most wanted in the system, I may add).
And that brings this lengthy blog to a close. I certainly hoped I entertained you and you came away with a nice glimpse of the Elite:Dangerous economy, especially after I had sat down and did the math for you. 🙂 Enjoy!