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X3: Brackets in battle

X3: Reunion: Argon Prime
After hours of wandering looking for profitable ventures and/or combat encounters, I managed to hit pay dirt in X3: Reunion. I had a grand total of 8,000 credits to my name then so I was in Argon space making yet another dull Energy Cell run in my starting ship, the Argon Buster.

Three bogies showed up on my radar. Screw these trading runs, I thought, let’s get some starfighting done.

I closed in and discovered they were Pirates in Harriers. I didn’t know if taking on those Pirates would be a wise thing to do but I did know I was bored stiff by cargo runs so I engaged.

I quickly learnt all three bogies had superior speed. Double my speed as a matter of fact. Wuh oh. There would be no turning back or outrunning my foes. It was do or die.

I somehow did rather than died and managed to blow up two of the pirates. The third pirate, shields gone and hull hammered, ejected and abandoned his ride.
X3: Reunion: first ship capture
Ah, my first ship capture.

I ejected from my Buster, took a short spacewalk over to the Harrier, took over its computer and commanded it to dock at the nearest shipping dock. I then got in my Buster and headed there as well.

(Meanwhile, the pirate who had ejected was still there in space in his spacesuit. Reading some of the player guides, I learnt I could have captured the pirate and sold him into slavery if my cargo bay had lifesupport. This would have put me in the bad books of some of the factions in the game but it’s outrageous possibilities like that which made me get X3: Reunion.)

Whatever thrill I got from my first ship capture dissipated when I discovered my captured Harrier would only fetch a measly 8,000 credits from the shipyard. Oh well, I had at least doubled my bank balance.

X3: Reunion: Brackets in battle
That’s what a pitched battle looks like in X3. Very exciting, no? There are dastardly red brackets flitting around helpless blue brackets. Oh no, the drama! X3 may have a great graphical engine but you won’t be seeing much of the detailed ship designs up close. It’s mostly brackets out there in space.

Combat is a bit tough for me at the moment. The combat itself is Wing Commander-ish in nature. Lots of dogfights, outturning and leading the target. I can do that. I’ve done that in Red Baron, Aces of the Pacific, X-Wing, TIE Fighter and Wing Commander. So no problems there.

The problem is I have no idea what my ship’s strengths are relative to my foes. I have no idea how dangerous a Harrier is compared to a Raider or how my Argon Buster may fare against either.

To compound matters, repairing ships takes a lot of moolah. For instance, after one battle, I was horrified to discover it would take about 4K to repair my Buster’s hull from 71% integrity to 72%. I had a grand total of 8K on me at that point and poor prospects of earning enough to fully repair my ship.

Rather than muddle about in a damaged ship with reduced speed, I usually reload a previously saved game whenever my ship takes serious damage.

The main problem is X3: Reunion isn’t really an action game. There simply aren’t that many opportunities for combat. The meat of the game is the economy, which is just about the most dynamic part of the game.


Hours upon hours of tedious trading later, I had another interesting encounter. I was in a Boron sector this time and spotted a Boron trader under attack from a trio of Yaki starfighters.

The Yaki were pissed their leader had been captured so they were raising hell in the hopes this would somehow make the authorities see things their way.

Yaki means “stupid”, I think.

Anyway, I spotted this firefight and as I was scanning the sector map I spotted cargo drifting aimlessly in space. My assumption was a Boron freighter was blown up earlier by these Yaki raiders and the dropped cargo drifting in space was all that was left.

Sad emoticon for the Boron, smiley emoticon for me.

Quantum Tubes sell for over 3.5K each and there were 19 Quantum Tubes in that cargo container. I picked up the container, sold the Quantum Tubes to a shield manufacturer a few jumpgates away and increased my credit balance eightfold.

I’ve now got 100,000 credits to my name but I need double that amount to buy a Mercury S transport freighter. Judging by everything I’ve read, that particular craft is the key to kickstarting my trading career as it features 30 times more cargo space that my Argon Buster.

Mo’ cargo, mo’ profits.

Mo’ profits, mo’ gameplay opportunities.

However, unless I luck out a few more times, that Mercury is going to be a long time in coming. I could take the easy way out and simply sell my Buster and get a Mercury but I’m going to stick with what I’m doing out of sheer bloody-mindedness. Egosoft started players on the Normal difficulty level with an Argon Buster so I’m assuming there is a damn good reason why the developers didn’t intend players to immediately replace that with a Mercury freighter.

It’s me against Egosoft’s game design.

One shall stand, one shall fall.

Posted in Games, X3.

7 Responses

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  1. Robmuzz says

    Nice descriptive style :-)

  2. Gobi says

    Why, thank you, sir.

  3. MegaJohnny says

    Yeah, X3’s a brilliant game. Gunning down Pirates and selling the ships if they bail out is one of the more dangerous ways to make money. Further on in the game you can own stations, complexes, automated traders (that seek and exploit profit opportunities all for you) and even own one of the massive dreadnoughts you see in some of the sectors. The possibilities are what make X3 so great.

    The Harrier, by the way, is an M5 class fighter. It’s a scout ship, not really meant for combat. Their shields have about the same energy as a wristwatch and the armour is about as good as toilet paper, but it is the fastest ship class in the game. You ship, the Buster, is an M4, the medium fighter, the next step up. Slower, stronger, and tougher. But still very fragile compared to most classes.

    The next step up from your ship is the M3 class. Slower again, but much better armed, more cargo space, tougher, better shields etc. And some of them have a rear turret so you can never get out of their grasp.

    Get lots of pirate ships to bail out and sell the ships, a great way to make money early on.

  4. Gobi says

    Great tips, MegaJohnny!

  5. Ultima says

    m3s are the best of the fighters ur best bet is to get a trade and get an auto trade upgrade for it it cost about 500k and you need to be in good favor with the race

  6. Jon "Trog" Hayes says

    X3 is still the foremost sci-fi flight sim out there. The universe is a decent size and can be expanded on due to the way in which the game script editor works.

    My first thoughts were not great, I had awaited X3 for ages only to find the first mission with Saya and a monk named Dogan is nigh on impossible if your graphics card gets a bit juddery…so my advice is if you like pretty pay for a decent graphics card and enjoy, because flying past a large solar power plant in your itty bitty teeny weeny buster is a humbling experience.

    There’s no two ways about it X3 is gorgeous (Except the vid-link characters in radio chatter…they really suck). Character models are not really important, but whoever modelled the ones in X3 for the FMVs and in-fill should be spaced! :P

  7. Gobi says

    The main draw of the game, though, is its scope. You start out with a solitary fighter but you could eventually find yourself a starfleet commander or an industry magnate or a space taipan raking in millions from all over the universe.

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