How Iridium Wings saved my ass.
TL;DR Iridium Wings saved my valuable data, picked up rare relic for me and most of all allowed me to experience very enjoyable content of the game.
Since the game release on PS4 I've never had any conflicts with other CMDRs so far and was traveling within the bubble fearlessly. I've experienced many FSD interdirections while crying valuable cargo, or few raids from NPC pirates while mining with Type 6, but I was always able to escape. So there was nothing at all to be cautious about.. This all has changed when I took part in the latest CG and the community expedition arranged by The Deep Recon X.
Such events have a great deal of attention and attract everyone, not just those who want to earn credits. I've got wrecked my ship several times in the hazardous zones not by NPC, nor by bounty hunters since I had always clean status, but by a more combat experienced CMDRs with much better ships operating in wings formations. I am ok with that and definitely not complaining. I did the same later and enjoyed this aspect of the game even with the other random guys linked together in one wing. It is the "hazardous" zone, so you need to expect some troubles along the way, not just the simple bounty hunting assisted by NPCs enforcers on your side.
What I was not prepared for, but still could expect was the same situation happened during the GDO launch last week in the the Asimov Port. Grand-day-out event also attracted those who want to rape as many unnarmed explorers as possible and ruin the fun for everyone. Still no complaints since it is an online environment where everyone begins with the same Sidewinder and if he wants to ruin such events in a well earned FDL few weeks later, he can. Others can play offline in Solo mode to completely avoid this dangerous risky aspect, but i would not recommend it. For me the sense of real danger and risk of loosing my valuable assets to the other like minded CMDRs is what i Like about this game – to feel that I am not alone and that I can be wrecked by anyone after the next jump, or after the very first departure from the station with brand new AspX, which is exactly what happened to me – Right after the departure i was collecting the data from the high-wake trails for engineers and the other guy had the same idea of testing his new Anaconda, but definitely not by scanning those trails. Once he deployed his hard points I knew this will not end up well..re buy (-700k) and again 😀 I was still too careless to avoid this accident, but learned the hard way.
Last few days I was visiting among the other explorers the GDO way points and at some point I decided to take my own direction and go to explore just by my self. 50 jumps in one direction, deep below the bubble level where the stars density is much lower i have found many undiscovered systems. Not bad for my first serious exploration so i started scanning everything just to put my name on it. With every next discovery i started to be more and more nervous as I wondered how valuable those exploration data may be, especially after my last week's experiences with the rogue CMDRs. My idea was to sell these data to the engineers to raise their grades, not just to get credits from it. Well, before you start the cooperation with any of engineers, you need to unlock him/her first. I had to deliver some rare relic to the Elvira Martuuk, before i would be able to sell her the data. As I learned, this relic is so rare that you can buy it only in one place in the whole bubble. The idea of searching for it at one place and deliver it to the other distant one, with completely unnamed ship full of valuable data was just uncomfortable. Engineer's stations, or stations with unique rare relics are places where I would expect to meet troublemakers.
As i was thinking how to not screw it, I recalled that I've red some post here about some security escort service called Iridium Wings so just from the curiosity I visited their website, asked for an escort and in two minutes I was explaining my situation on their discord server. From the first moment even before we agreed on anything I was surprised how involved they were, asking on every detail of my intentions. In a few minutes they suggested completely different and much safer progress into my target destination. Not just that, they proposed to get the relic (buy it for me) by them selves and deliver it to the safe zone for me. They have recommended the safest route for me deep bellow the bubble to the starting point while they transferred their ships there to escort me. At that moment i finally became relaxed sensing that they took the responsibility for my safety and make much of an effort to get me there safe. 30 jumps later we have finally met and I was carefully listening to their instructions. As we proceeded through out the bubble one guy was always jump ahead scanning next system for possible hostiles while the other one watched my back in the current one. All the time they expressed themselves so professionally that I would easily gain the feeling of participating in an actual in game mission created by the devs. Just before the final destination they handed me over the relics and we proceeded very carefully to the orbit.
As expected there were few CMDRS with Condas and FDLs present in a close vicinity of the planet station so the tense started to increase. One of the FDL cruised randomly around the station and his intentions were definitely not clear. I would not try to approach the base if I would be alone, but one of my guards locked him in with active hard points waiting for any suspicious action. That's when i proved my inability in planet landing and general lack of experiences in the game and underestimated the gravitation pull of the planet (G was 1.2). Mine first heavier ship AspX in combination with the weak 4D thrusters just could not retain the safe descend pace and i slammed onto the surface. In a short moment, i became the highest threat to the mission and myself. It was so embarrassing and I felt like a total idiot. The possible FDL hostile have seen my crash too and became interested at what happened, which escalated also in my guards perception. They already warned him in the coms chat before for the IW presence escorting me, so my fault could led to an open fire. In a meantime i recovered my shields and with the minor hull damage i took the right direction to the landing pad.. but i failed again during the process and crashed the ship to the surface once again, not that hard but it was again completely out of my control. Totally embarrassed i was finally able to land successfully and docked my ship safe into the hangar.
God I was so relieved that i did not cause the mission to fail, nor provoked the hostile FDL to shot me down, as these IW guys just did not deserve such a careless client.. but that's what we noobs are. I absolutely did not care about the cartographics reward, engineer successfully unlocked, exploration rank increased, first discoveries entered, but most of all I had an honor to participate in the very unique mission created by the players for players. These guys proved to me that they are valuable asset of the game, creating their own enjoyable content and let me experience it. I would definitely say that the quality of service (including very decent and kind behavior in the voice com chanel) they provide is worthy enough to be included in the main game as an optional escort missions for the other players. That is something you will never go through in the Solo mode and we can be very happy to have this community which is creating their own enjoyable game content. I hope that sometimes I'll get my flying and combat skills (not sure about my fluent English tho) to the level sufficient to provide such a professional service to the other fellow explorers searching for protection. For other defenseless explorers returning home – do not hesitate and contact them, you will experience very unique escort mission which is otherwise not accessible in the main game. I wish them many satisfied clients as I am just more cautious 🙂