Having (finally) made it to step 7 of Masark’s Guide, and run a good few hours of loops, the trade grind was getting to me. I decided to switch over to Imperial Rank grind instead: what’s the point in having enough cash to buy all the Imperial ships if you can’t because you don’t have enough rank to buy/fly them?
Purchased the required Asp Explorer, and have been plugging away at the missions enough to have risen from Serf to (currently) Squire. My intention is to stop when I get to Baron (enough to purchase/pilot the Imperial Clipper), then I’ll look to return to the Trade grind in a Clipper at step 7 (faster, far more maneuverable ship with better cargo capacity. What’s not to like?)
FYI/BTW if you are a novice pilot in open play, for goodness’ sake don’t loiter on the pads in the Imperial rank grind systems. It becomes impossible to hand in missions sometimes due to pilots lingering in port, to the extent that I’m running to Baron in solo play… It may be a very solitary galaxy in solo, but you waste far less time waiting for the one medium pad in van Royen Vision to become available.
Update: Just emerged from a hellish long session but I’m Lord 7%! Only 93% (and a rank mission) to Baron and the Clipper… Doubt I’ll be able to do that in the two sessions I get of an evening after work (certainly not tomorrow), but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.