In Elite Dangerous, Bounty Hunters are the unofficial police force of the stars. You’ll need to use your advanced tactics, quick reflexes and wits to keep yourself alive and come out on top with some extra cash in your pocket.
That said, follow these tips to become the ultimate Bounty Hunter.
It’s always important to make sure you have the proper setup for the job, and bounty hunting is no different. First, make sure you have everything you need to do the job efficiently. Is your ship fast? Is it well equipped? Better yet, is it properly equipped? If you answered no to any of these questions, you’ll want to make a pit stop at a Starport and pick up a better ship and weapon. In order to be good at bounty hunting, you’ll need a Sidewinder, Viper or Eagle. Sure, you can run with a Cobra Mk. III, but the aforementioned ships are smaller and sometimes faster than the Cobra.
Second, you’ll want to make sure you’re well equipped with weapons and the proper tools. A Kill-Warrant Scanner is great for checking for bounties in other systems, not to mention the efficient use of such a tool can lead to more bounties than you would have originally thought. You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of firepower. The simple lasers on your base model Sidewinder are great for getting started, however in the long run, you’ll want to make sure you’re equipped with some form of Multi-Cannon turret (Gimballed or Fixed), as well as some other ship upgrades like Shields.
Things to know
The most important thing about bounty hunting is knowing when to keep fighting and when it’s time to tuck tail and run. If you have the upper-hand you should always go for the kill, but if at any time you feel like your ship is in immediate danger, or you begin to take hull damage and you don’t think you can pull off the kill, get out fast.
Tip: The quickest way to escape a fight is to turn Flight Assist off and boost in a straight line. If your shields are already offline, hit Silent Running to vanish from enemy radar.
Some other important things to know include what key activates your Cargo Scoop, as well as the location of the nearest High Tech Starport for making ship upgrades. You’ll also want to know the nearest Black Market location in case you pick up illegal cargo.
Tip: Anarchy Systems or Outposts do not have security vessels, which make them the ideal places to offload illegal goods.
Find a Hunting Spot
The next step to becoming a successful Bounty Hunter is to find a good place to hunt. Normally you’ll want to hang out around Nav Beacons, Resource Extraction Sites and sometimes Unidentified Signal Sources.
For Nav Beacons, bring along a Kill-Warrant Scanner for Anarchy systems, or when not in an Anarchy System, simply scan and wait for wanted ships to fly in.
Resource Extraction sites are good because many times you’ll find pirates waiting for the next unsuspecting miner with good cargo to come along. These are perfect places if you like cutting some guy’s fun short, as well as a decent way to make a name for yourself with the thousands of other players flying in the universe.
Unidentified Signal Sources are common signals you’ll pick up in SuperCruise, and while this work is often tedious it can sometimes lead to high paying bounties. However, if you’re just starting out, we highly suggest sticking to RES and Nav Beacons.
Finding Your Prey
Another important aspect to bounty hunting involves finding your victims. NPC ships are ranked not only on skill but also by equipment, which means many Novice ranked NPCs are shieldless, making them great targets for new Bounty Hunters. Sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll be blessed by the sight of a shield less Asp, Python or Anaconda – all of which you should chase down and turn into balls of flames for a nice chunk of change.
If the fight seems long-winded, make sure to target subsystems like their Drives. This will cut off their Frame Shift Drive, as well as prohibit them from steering, making them a sitting duck.
If the fight grows intense, you should target the Docking Computer and Power Plant in that order.
If the opponent doesn’t put up much of a fight, target the Cargo Hatch by toggling the Previous Subsystem hotkey you set.
Bounty Hunter Movement Tactics
Whenever throttling, make sure you keep your throttle inside the BLUE ZONE when turning or for max strafing thruster power.
Second, remember that your ship maneuvers better and is faster when it is lighter, as well as when more power is pushed to your Engines. If you’re flying in a smaller ship, such as a Sidewinder, Eagle or even an Adder, your speed and evasive maneuvers are your best friend, as well as your only true advantage. Make the most of your ship and max out those Engines whenever you need to move quickly.
Scan, Scan and Scan Some More
Starting out, you’ll rely solely on basic scans from your ship. This means you’ll only be aware of the Wanted levels of people who are WANTED within the current system you’re migrating through. The basic scan will only show you the status of that system, which means basic scanning ships in an Anarchy System will return CLEAN registers from everyone since there are no rules.
To find bounties in Anarchy Systems, you’ll need a K-Warrant Scanner. This scanner is relatively slow, so you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of time to scan and then engage your target before it either A.) escapes, or B.) gets intercepted by another hunter. In addition, if you’re in a NON-Anarchy system and you attack a ship that is Clean in that system but WANTED in another system, you’ll be charged with breaking the law. Once you’ve started a K-SCAN, do not start another or you will lose your wanted data.
Now that you know how to setup, where to hunt, how to scan and what prey to look for, it’s time to get out there and become the most feared Bounty Hunter in the game.