Elite Dangerous Bounty Hunting (And Make Massive Cash) Guide by redcalx
Strapped for cash? Don’t know how to bridge the colossal chasm that is the cobra – asp divide? Worry no more, commander. This guide to making colossal profits (approx 300k+ an hour, if you’re lucky) from bounty hunting will help you succeed in no time.
The first thing you will need to do is make a choice of which system you will be hunting in. I personally like to hunt in a system I want to gain reputation in, since I tend to do the odd mission around there. I’m unclear as to whether bounty hunting directly increases your reputation, though. Others may prefer to bounty hunt in a separate system to the one they want to gain the favour of, since accidentally shooting a civilian can reduce your standing within the system you’re in.
Your next step on the road to riches is to simply find a system with an asteroid belt for mining. The system would preferably have a station close to where your belt is, for easy access to and from a place to pay off your bounty (we’ll get back to this in a minute) or claim your bounties. In a perfect situation your system will be a high-tech system, so you can fit upgrades easily too.
Then, you must buy a Viper Mk III, which is the perfect ship for the job. You can outmanoeuvre any ship in there, and if things end up getting a bit sticky – which they rarely do – you can get your streamlined ass out of there in no time at all.
The next step is to fit your Viper with laser weapons and a Kill Warrant Scanner. My perfect setup is two static pulse lasers on the bottom, and two gimballed burst lasers on the top. This allows for you to send a constant barrage of death on them at all times, even if you’re slightly too off target to use your more powerful static pulse lasers. If you fit your Viper with an improved power distributor, you can almost constantly fire your gimballed burst lasers.
The next – and final – step is to fly down into the asteroid belt and scan all the ships around you to check if they’re wanted. This is vital. You must ALWAYS wait for the scan to confirm they’re wanted. Even if an obvious pirate comes along and shoots at you, you must wait for the scan to confirm he’s a pirate, otherwise you WILL get a bounty. Once you’ve found the wanted pirate, you can just simply scan them with your Kill-Warrant Scanner (for increased profit), destroy them with your lasers, and collect the reward. The common wanted ships you will come across are Sidewinders and Cobras. You can always take down both of these, despite their combat rank. In fact, I prefer Master Cobras to any other combat rank of Cobra, since they tend to fly close to you and underestimate your massively superior manoeuvrability, which allows you to wreck them with pulse lasers in their whole futile attempt to outmanoeuvre you. Sometimes they will drop expensive cargo, like slaves for instance (if you’re working around Empire territory). You can pick up these slaves and go and sell them, but the problem is that the whole place is filled with system authority vessels. You can’t take the slaves and stick around; you have to take them back to a station with a black market and sell them immidiately, or you could be very quickly scanned and fined. Also, pirates who scan you will want your cargo and start attacking you first, which is not the preferable situation. You always want the upper hand in these battles, it makes everything so much easier.
Occasionally you will come across a wanted Anaconda. You must always check to see if there are more than four (or maybe even three if you’re brave) NPC ships shooting at it. If so, scan him with your Kill-Warrant Scanner to check his bounty (sometimes you get ones with like 300 bounty, which is not worth the trouble). Wait for the NPCs around you to take it down to approximately 50-35% hull. If you wait for any later than this, the Anaconda can sometimes just go from 305 hull to 0% hull in a second, and you lose any chance at killing it. Once it’s low, you can just keep at almost the maximum range away and fire at it. It will eventually die, and you will almost certainly get 100,000 to 150,000 credits in bounty.
Now, you have to prioritise your time. You can kill as many little Sidewinder small fry as you’d like, but they only give 2000-6000 bounty. I personally always go for the Cobras, since they always give 13,000 to 20,000 CR in bounty. After an hour of glorious and fun bounty hunting, you can end up with an extremely massive amount of credits. Over the last three days of hunting (I have spent like 3-4 hours each day doing it) I have literally made over 1,300,000 CR. You could probably make this with gruelling trading, but this way is extremely fun, improves your skill at fighting and improves your combat rank. The only real inconvenience is that sometimes a civilian or authority vessel can fly in front of you line of sight, or you can accidentally shoot a pirate before you have made sure he’s wanted, and you can get a 300 CR bounty. This is enough for the system authority vessels around you to regard you as literally worse than Satan himself and they proceed to open fire on you. Luckily in the Viper it’s not even a vague problem to simply fly away and jump out of there, but then you have to remove the bounty to return, which is a hassle. Another thing to take into account is the fact that your bounties disappear when you die, so make sure to claim them before doing something risky. (I learnt this the hard way. R.I.P 300,000 credits, you will be missed).
Now, to sum up (read the stuff above, if you haven’t. It has crucial information):
- Choose an area you want to make friends with (or don’t, refer to the first paragraph for more info).
- Buy yourself a Viper Mk III for 140,000 CR.
- Kit it out with lasers alone and a Kill-Warrant Scanner.
- Head to a place with a station near a resource extraction point.
- Scan people to check if they’re wanted, and with your Kill-Warrant Scanner before you open fire.
- Rain death upon them.
- Rinse & repeat.
- Collect colossal profit.
Apologies in advance if I forgot anything, and feel free to ask questions. Happy hunting, comrades.