LIFE ON TITAN
Scavenging is profitable because you sell goods you get for free by just picking them up off of the surface of Titan. The important elements are where to find these items and where to sell them. Like traders you'll eventually have pirate trouble. Read my Basic Training Guide for tactical advice in these situations.
You will need a pod, drone, and Radar Level 3 to target and pick up items on Titan's surface. You should try to avoid Auto-Pilot and learn to dock manually and quickly.
Opt for a Hawk when you have enough money. You need the Hawk's superior manuverability and good speed and relatively compact size. The Hawk's also tough enough to take a few hits from pirates while you are waiting for your drone to return. Infra-Red software also helps a lot at night.
Basic Salvage Technique
In general it is best for a scavenger to fly low. This keeps you near Titan's surface and the bounty you can reap there.
You begin scavenging an item by locating it. Items to pick up are displayed as white triangles on your radar screen in the lower right of your HUD. See my Game Setup's HUD section for more details.
When you notice a white triangle or two open your Navigation Menu and select the Radar Range option. This will list everything within radar range. Select the button for whatever item you want to pick up. This will target the item and put it in your Target View in the lower left of your HUD. You must target an item before the drone can pick it up.
You can also target items by using the 'Next Target' function. This function is used by pressing the "Y" key repeatedly until you find a suitable target. Keep an eye on your Target View to see what you currently have targeted.
After targeting turn and approach your target quickly. Other Scavengers will be trying to beat you to a good find. Start releasing your drone as soon as you are lined up. If the distance is too far for the drone to release, keep trying to release the drone repeatedly until you are in range. Once the drone releases, get as close as you can to the targeted item. This will lessen the retrieval time and minimize the time pirates have to shoot at you while you are waiting for your returning drone. When you're good enough, you can fly right "into" you drone after it has lifted the cargo and it will immediately dock.
While you wait for your drone to return, target a buyer, potential pirate, or wherever you are going next. This saves you time hovering after you have the cargo and a pirate might be gaining interest in you. Make sure to know the following four things:
Nearby threats, like pirates.
The nearest tunnel in case you have to run for it.
Your overall condition -- shields, power, etc.
Where you're planning to sell the cargo or if you're going to sell it immediately.
Take off. Don't linger unless you are picking up another nearby item. Pirates generally won't target you for less than 10 of Scrap Metal or Ore.
Read paul's Drone Tips to truly master the craft of Scavenging.
Where To Find Stuff
The best places to find stuff are around Light Wells and the entrances to tunnels. This is where most dogfights end. Other places to haunt include outside bars and contraband suppliers like General Industrial, Riverside. Pirates hang out there waiting for unwitting traders carrying Narcotics, Alcohol, and Huskar Cigars.
If all else fails, just make a route covering all of Misplace Optimism. I like starting in Downtown and going through Alpha, Haven, Mines, Midway, Gamma, Riverside, Resevoir, Highrise, and back Downtown. Check the Light Wells as you go.
Where To Sell Stuff
You want to sell stuff at the same places a trader would. Check out my Table of Trade Items for places to sell your goods. In general take your scrap metal to recycling places. Ore is best sold a Ore Processing Centers. Other metals, plastic, MachParts, and CompComp are generally needed by the Moth dealers and factories.
Working a Dogfight
Some of the best stuff you will find will be the debris from a dogfight. At the least you will pick up some scrap metal. At best you can grab Narcotics, nuclear stuff, and other very valuable items.
The easiest way to find a dogfight is to hear it. When you hear sweet sound of missiles or cannons, start cycling through targets using the "Y" key. You will probably find a trader or another scavenger with valuable cargo and low shields. The shields are probably still lowering. This is the pirate's victim. Keep him targeted and approach the dogfight. Stay lower than your target.
Wait for the pirate to seriously damage the victim and the victim will jettison his cargo in an attempt to save his skin. As soon as you see the victim's cargo go from a valuable cargo to 'No Cargo', he's jettisoned it. Now use Radar Range to target the cargo and pick it up. If you are quick enough, you will have the cargo and be on your way before the pirate knows what's going on.
You will occasionally find that a pirate gives up attacking his prey to charge up at a Light Well or because he's losing the dogfight. In these cases you might want to consider a little piracy yourself. It works like this: kill the pilot with the valuable cargo, pick up the cargo, kill the original pirate to clear your record with the Police.
A typical scenario has the pirate leaving the fight to go to a Light Well. You finish off his prey who is already damaged by the original pirate. Target and pick up the cargo. Now target the pirate, who may well still be at the Light Well, and kill him. Now sell your cargo and you've got the cash and are clear with the Police.
It's always a good idea for a Scavenger to have ten pirates loaded into his Nav Menu's 'Pilot' section. You can get the list at any police station listed in 'Local Services'. Now you can freely add a little piracy to your routine and just target and kill another pirate to clear your police record.
Remember that pirates seldom attack someone who is only carrying less than 10 Scrap Metal or Ore. The odds of your being hit by a pirate goes up dramatically with the value of your cargo. Mixed cargos and very valuable cargos should be sold as quickly as possible to avoid pirate trouble. Making a little less cash is the lesser of evils in these situations.
Using The "H" Key
Use the "H" key to see what cargo you're carrying. This key changes what's displayed in the right center of your HUD. Your weapons array is displayed here by default.
You should be familiar enough with your weapons array that you don't need to keep it displayed. It's a much better idea to keep tabs on your current cargo so you don't go after something you can't hold or forget what you're carrying (and where to sell it).
Lord Lucifer III's Drone Tip
"I was playing around in port last nite after rigging syd's moth up with a pod/drone and discovered a way to overstock the pod. If you hit D [or whatever you've got drone set to] THEN target the cargo, you'll skip the 'Cargo bay is full' message and collect the cargo. it worked with over 250 constmat last night, and i'm gonna go check for breaking the 'type' limit [i.e. Largest pod had 5 'types' of cargo, small has 3]
-- Lord Lucifer III
Notes: I've tried this and it works. It does not increase the number of different cargoes that can be carried. It lets you carry more than your limit of any single cargo. The trick is to release the drone before targeting the cargo. Then target the cargo before you get an "invalid target" warning. I find this is easiest done by using the "target" function and placing the cargo in my center reticule.
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