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Elite Dangerous: Everything You Need To Know About Bounty Hunting

Bounty Hunting is one of the most fun ways to play Elite Dangerous, especially with the changes in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. Overall, bounty hunting is a medium-risk activity with the potential for a handsome payout.

Before you get started as a Bounty Hunter, there are some things you should really know. What ships should you use? What’s the most effective way to make money? What weapons should you install on your ship? Here’s everything a new bounty hunter needs to know about the profession.

The Best Ship For Beginner Bounty Hunters – Eagle Mark 3

The Eagle Mark 3 is the closest you’ll get to an X-wing in Elite Dangerous. It’s cheap, fast, and packs a punch. At only 44,000 credits it’s the ideal ship for a beginner pilot. Don’t let that low cost fool you: the Eagle has everything it needs to become a formidable bounty hunter ship, especially in the hands of a decent player. Here are some of the specifics:

  • The Eagle has a top speed of 240 m/s at default
  • It has a maneuverability rating of 7, one of the highest of any ship in Elite Dangerous
  • The Eagle has 3 x Small Hardpoints, ideal for some powerful weaponry

The Eagle Has Terrible Shields, So Don’t Get Hit

By far the biggest benefit of the Eagle as a bounty hunter is its maneuverability, and you’ll need it because this ship’s shields are basically useless. Any sort of sustained damage and the Eagle will be utterly destroyed. That being said, with its high turning speed, it’s able to stay behind enemy ship’s turrets and dodge other ships trying to catch up with you.

Make use of the Eagle’s advantages with this sample build:

  • Lightweight Alloy, Power Plant, Thrusters (these are your basic internal options)
  • Shield Generator, every bit of shield is going to help and is 100% necessary on the Eagle
  • Multi-Cannon, Beam Laser, these are the sort of weapons you should experiment with
  • Kill Warrant Scanner, more on the importance of this in just a second

How Bounty Hunting Actually Works

Bounty Hunting is quite simple, especially for a beginner. You’ll want to prey on NPC pirate ships or ships that have a contract put out on them by some of the minor factions in the game. One of the essential parts of any Bounty Hunter expedition is the Kill Warrant Scanner.

This ship upgrade allows you to scan passing ships and confirm whether or not there is a price on their head. It’s easy to use: just bind it to a fire button and aim it at passing ships. Any highlighted ships have a bounty placed on them, an easy way to increase your end payout.

How do you get a bounty voucher? Blow the ship up, of course.

Upgrade To A Frame Shift Wake Scanner

While your Kill Warrant Scanner is essential, you also want to consider installing a Frame Shift Wake Scanner onboard your bounty hunting ship. This useful tool allows players to track ships that have jumped away. Of course, this is quite a common occurrence if the NPC or player knows you’re on their back.

Remember, chasing after a ship that jumps away really only makes sense if they have a very high bounty value. Otherwise, change targets.

Where To Find Ships With Bounties On Them

There are a few different strategies Bounty Hunters employ to boost their chances of finding decent ships to take down. A lot of bounty hunters will wait outside stations to scan various ships as they slow down to dock. They might even wait by orbiting Fleet Carriers. This is a good idea if you’re a more experienced pilot, as quite a few of those docking ships will be players.

Check Nav Beacons

For those who want to get a fast start and might be feeling a bit more cautious about their skills, it’s a good idea to head out to a Nav Beacon. These floating data points are frequented by NPC ships. Use the Kill Warrant Scanner to check for bounties and then engage when you’ve found one. Simple.

Head To A Resource Extraction Site

Resource Extraction Sites are often busy with players and NPCs. Pirates prey on hapless miners, and those pirates are the perfect target for bounty hunters. If you’re heading out to some obscure asteroid ring you’re much less likely to find anything – or anyone – of value. Stick to populated areas to maximize your profits.

General Elite Dangerous Bounty Hunting Combat Tips

Combat in Elite Dangerous is pretty technical. Managing your power, weapons, and analyzing the situation you find yourself in are all important to primarily staying alive, and that’s even before you consider the fighting bit.

As a bounty hunter it’s likely you are usually in pursuit of ships: you need to stay behind them, out of the angles of their turreted weapons if this applicable. An agile ship is obviously a huge help. Keep that in mind before you purchase some monster.

Time For An Upgrade

The Eagle might be cheap and cheerful, but Elite Dangerous is packed to the atmosphere with exciting ships to try. Other top ships for bounty hunting include:

  • The Cobra Mark 3, an all-around beast, capable of dealing heavy damage while keeping the costs relatively low
  • The Asp Explorer, typically a ship suited for exploration, with the right loadout this nimble ship makes a competent bounty hunter vessel
  • Vulture, this ship is incredible when engineered for the teeth, but it takes a bit of know-how (and credits) to get it to peak performance
  • The Python, an all-around powerful ship, but with a 17 Mass Lock rating it makes an excellent bounty hunter ship capable of crippling even much larger vessels before they can escape

NEXT: Elite Dangerous: Guide To Mining

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Harry Alston is a writer based in the UK. He was once number one in the world on Call of Duty: Black Ops and now spends his days chasing that past glory.

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