Elite Dangerous (ED) is a space game that combines different components such as economic simulation, flying, exploration and combat. For example, the player can trade with goods, mine and sell raw materials, take on transport missions, explore and map star systems or even fight. There is neither a predefined storyline nor defined game objectives. Nevertheless, most players will strive to earn money to buy new and better ships. Furthermore, different ranking systems for trade, exploration and combat are implemented, which can motivate players to level up in the respective areas. Furthermore, there are different (major) powers that the player can join, which in turn opens up further possibilities and game objectives.
In terms of the number of players, ED is very flexible. In addition to a single player mode, there is a variant in which only certain players (e.g. friends) join the game. In addition, there is a multiplayer variant without access restrictions, in which there are a lot of players. Regardless of the selected game mode, all economically relevant transactions are recorded and affect the other players. For example, if someone sells goods in large quantities on a certain local market, this results in lower prices for all players, regardless of whether they are playing in a single or multiplayer mode. Therefore, a permanent internet connection is required
The economic learning potential of Elite Dangerous is primarily in a better understanding of the following categories:
- Scarcity: In addition to money or credits, which can be acquired in a variety of ways, minerals are also scarce, which are needed for the specific improvement of spaceships. These cannot be purchased, but have to be acquired through various, sometimes quite monotonous activities (Grinding). However, this often tedious activity gives them a certain value. Reputation points are also scarce, which can improve the player's image with different factions and are also quite expensive to earn.
- Cost-benefit ratio/efficiency/conflict of objectives: Especially against the background of the scarcity of credits, materials and reputation points, it is important to achieve the highest possible yield per time unit, which suggests the most efficient action. Since efficient activities are occasionally monotonous and boring, this conflicts with the player's goal of having fun.
- Division of labour/cooperation: Spaceships can be configured very differently in ED depending on the desired purpose. This means, however, that strengths of the ship in one area are accompanied by deficits in another area. For example, a ship that is geared towards resource mining is less suitable for fighting and thus also in danger of being attacked by other players and losing the collected resources. Such problems can be countered with cooperation, for example by having a player with a fighting ship accompany and protect a resource ship.
- Risk: In many activities, especially when trading, there is a risk of being attacked by other players and losing the cargo. In this respect, the safety level of the regions flown through must be taken into account when choosing a trade route. Furthermore, because of the risk of being robbed, not all the capital should be invested in a shipload. This might result in a higher profit, but in the case of a ship loss the player would have to work his way back up again.
In addition, ED can promote a deeper understanding of dynamic price formation in markets, as the supply and demand behaviour of all players has a direct impact on the price of goods.
In addition to economic learning processes, ED can also lead to learning effects in the domains of geography and astronomy. For example, when approaching planets, longitude and latitude as well as the compass must be used. It is also necessary to deal with abstract and sometimes three-dimensional maps in the game. In addition, celestial bodies and their behaviour (e.g. types of stars and planets, distances, movement behaviour) are depicted realistically in the game.
Furthermore, ED can promote frustration tolerance, as new players often face problems due to small details, which can be solved after some experimentation or research. Also diligence and perseverance can be promoted, since grinding is almost inevitable to acquire good spaceships. Furthermore, ED offers numerous possibilities for communication and cooperation in the multiplayer mode, which can promote the corresponding skills.
Despite the learning effects mentioned, ED cannot be recommended for either classroom or semi-formal learning settings. This is mainly due to the high time required for ED. The time required results both from learning the game because of its steep learning curve and from the intensive grinding during the further course of the game. Nevertheless, ED can contribute to economic education, because ED is sold by the millions and is often played very intensively by its players.
ED runs exclusively on PCs, requires a permanent internet connection and is available at the regular price of 25€ (6€ reduced).
Discussion forum for: Elite Dangerous
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