Missions - grr! I was doing well with my two-freighter shipping empire, building up a decent cash reserve, when I decided I should try out the advice I got way back at the beginning. I bought a scout ship, fully upgraded it, and ran some missions. It wasn't terrible, exactly, but it was a lot of work for little reward, but I figured it would be a good way to build up my reputation (you have to have a positive faction reputation to buy the best ships and equipment).
Then I got a mission to retrieve an abandoned ship, and it was a complete disaster. I flew my scout ship out to the middle of nowhere, claimed the ship, and then ordered my scout to follow me back to the base. Its autopilot decided to ram into me. So, of course, I have to spend time repairing both ships. After that, it's a long trip back to deliver the ship, and because the abandoned ship was a stock model, it was a lot slower than my scout. Yet it looked like I might make it under the deadline. I got my scout docked in the base, and the salvaged ship was gearing up to make a landing when suddenly I receive a message that I'm out of time, and the abandoned ship has been reported as stolen.
IT WAS LITERALLY IN THE RUNWAY TO YOUR STUPID BASE! If they'd looked out a window, they'd have seen it. Blargh!
To add to the insult, the space-cops immediately swarmed on my scavenged ship and blew it to smithereens. And then I took a massive reputation hit that closed off certain vital technologies. It was not my finest moment.
I suppose it was naive of me to expect to be able to run missions flawlessly, given that I have virtually no experience in directly piloting my ships, but it still came as something of a blow, given that the mission was marked "easy."
I'm not really sure what my next move is. I'm finding that dividing my attention between three ships is a bit aggravating. You can remotely direct your unoccupied ships to buy and sell, even from a distant sector of space, but you have to go through something like three or four layers of menus to do it. The obvious solution is to buy the automation software, which I have almost enough money to do, but can't because somehow my reputation isn't high enough.
I think X3: Terran Conflict is a game I would really enjoy if I had infinite time. Then, grinding (which I ordinarily enjoy) would not be too big a deal, and if I suffered a setback, I could just redouble my efforts and make my way back. Also, I probably wouldn't feel so compelled to try and run multiple ships at once, and spare myself some headaches that way. As it is, I feel like I have this deadline looming over me, and the time-cost of each mistake starts to feel intolerable.
Of course, I could just ease up and play X3 for as long as it takes to satiate my interstellar trading desires, but I still have a hundred games to go after this. If only each day were hundreds of hours long, but I guess, if it was, my game deadline would probably be proportionately longer.