Investigation into the "Mysterious Stranger"

Hi there,

Lots of interesting theories.

Just wondering if you'd like to know the answer to this or if you'd prefer it to remain a mystery that you can speculate about and continue to investigate?

Thanks,
Dom
Hi Dom, thank you for showing up here. For the German speaking community: yes, we over here would like to know the answer, please!
Thank you very much!
😃
 
So far the only things we still don't know about Tip Offs:
1) Some really rare messages, members of 1 or 2 rare groups (out of 8). Supposedly no more then 12 messages (most probably less)
2) Exact mechanics/math/hidden parameter behavior below Tip Off triggering (we know that they are triggered by doing - many - missions for a minor faction and that the mission completion text for the mission that have triggered TO in this case contain one special addition from a set of possible).
3) Exact locations of ALL Tip Off related sites in the Bubble
Solving (2) can help to solve (3) that results in solving (1).
However as the order of TO assignment is already discovered, i.e. it is always the furthest site (with 1 ly precision) available( * ) in the nearest pool of locations that is not already assigned( ** ) - means that at the present state of things to get - by "legal"/TO way - any new/unknown locations near the geometric center of the Bubble is really hard if not completely impossible( *** ).
(*) available means currently active, or, in other words, all bases (they are "permanent") or crash ship/unidentified wreckage sites on their 1st tick of activity.
(**) - already assigned = TO for given location is present in the commanders inbox and the "valid" period have not already expired (valid date that is less or equal to 14 days, not the expiration period of the message - 30 days)
(***)"Impossible" means that taking some appropriate "border" system (optimal strategy) a commander must receive ~30-45+ Tip Offs in 14 days long period (starting from the first one received) in order to receive Tip Off directing to central systems of the Bubble. More, this process must be repeated from different extremities of the Bubble and, to be correct, for all 12 ticks of the "big cycle" (due to the "blinking"-timetable nature of the TO-related crash sites).
 
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About the "rarity" of the messages (or message "groups"). What is known:

The full set of possible end messages the commander can scan on tip off mission destination is artificially (by design) divided into "subgroups".

There is a permanent link between a particular site/location and the "message group" it "belongs to" - the given location produce logs from the same subgroup for all commanders. Even more strict - it always the same log for all commanders using the same game client localisation (language).

In some cases those apriori unknown to us rules of division of messages into subgroups are simple - like all tip off related messages from planetary settlements do belong to the same subgroup - "corporate data log" (they even have that same "header"). 24 unique texts that can be obtained on so far 49 known to community locations (and while surely there are more still unknown locations - tip-off related planetary settlements - all estimations show that this set of messages is full and there are no "undiscovered" messages in this particular "CDL" subgroup).

However those rules are not as evident for the rest of messages - i.e. those produced by all Tip Off-related "crashed ships" and "unidentified wreckage".

Message "header" (if one has one) - like "crew log", "comms record", etc - in general case is not an "attribute" of a subgroup (subgroup can contain messages with different "headers").

The only "visible" attribute is probably buried in the tip off mission text (some keywords), however i have not tested this yet completely and in fact I have discovered this division "from the other side" of the problem using coincidence calculations on the known set of locations and the resulting scans using different game client localisations. This approach is purely "mathematical" and doesn't rely on any doubtful heuristic assumptions.

The result so far only visible in the last two columns in the main Tip Off spreadsheet (link in my signature - i.e. Bubble -> "GroupN", "theme"). Group names/numbers are completely arbitrarily (assigned during "calculations").

In summary for 220+ currently known locations we have this distribution:

Group#g_namesites#messages#
1Crash111129
2Crash21617
3Military410
4RecordDate79
5Smugglers11610
6Expedition1424
7Rebels14
8Pirates913
12CDL4924

So one can see that nearby half (111) of the known Tip Off locations produce the logs from the same "subgroup" - "Crash1" that does contain 29 "unique" messages (in fact less than 29 "really unique", as some of them are just "modified" versions from earlier days). Another 49 locations are planetary settlements - CDL group. And the remaining locations produce logs from another 8 known subgroups of messages. For example messages from "Rebels" subgroup available only on one known location - that is why I speak about the "rarity". Yep, using 6 commanders and 6 available game client localisations 6 messages were obtained from this location, however only 4 were "unique" (after removing duplicates/direct translations). We don't know if there are somewhere any other sites that produce logs from the same particular group, neither how many unique messages this group can contain (there number of tip-off related "crash sites" in the Bubble is limited, and while we don't know all of them I assume that most of them however has been already discovered).
Sorry, have just discovered that the division of known messages into subgroups is still unavailable in the main tip off spreadsheet (buried in my work materials). Hope to add it soon.
 
PS. My observations in the Bubble (that's not the case for Colonia) show that usually 3/4 of the tip off missions received by commanders do point to planetary settlements (i.e. "CDL" message group) - quite probably be due to the "permanent" nature of the planetary settlements in oppose to the timetable-driven nature of the rest of locations (may be also some volumetric unevenness of distribution between TO-related settlements and TO-related crash sites). The only exception is when one (of two) of crash sites in Pleiades became active - as the "furthest" sites from quasi any location in the Bubble they are always "first" in the assignment queue.
 
I noticed within the last few weeks, that - as I changed to do missions with a smaller ship (Keelback: 48to of cargo) in the Colonia Region, I got "tip off missions" following a successfully ended "normal" mission (I am allied to the faction). It started about March this year. I have never gotten those missions beforehand. And they were all salvage missions: big data-packets and a lot of rescue capsules.
 
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I noticed within the last few weeks, that - as I changed to do missions with a smaller ship (Keelback: 48to of cargo) in the Colonia Region, I got "tip off missions" following a successfully ended "normal" mission. It started about March this year. I have never gotten those missions beforehand. And they were all salvage missions: big data-packets and a lot of rescue capsules.
Yep, so far completing "normal" missions is the only proven way to trigger Tip Off missions (all other cases have no recorded evidence, i.e. only "rumors"). While we don't know (on quantitative level) what exact conditions must be met, the in-game "check" of either commander is applicable for "Tip Off" assignment takes place at the moment commander validates the selected payment method for the successfully completed mission. If positive, you'll hear a "ding" of the incoming message and some special "key phrase" (one from the set) will be added to one of the standard "thank you" texts (from you contact or passengers) - so even without opening your inbox you can see either this particular mission completion have triggered a Tip Off mission or not.
However your change of the ship and appearance of Tip Off missions is most likely just a coincidence. Most probably affected usual missions per day for a given minor faction (that at least indirectly linked to tip off missions).
 
Yep, so far completing "normal" missions is the only proven way to trigger Tip Off missions (all other cases have no recorded evidence, i.e. only "rumors").
I did never get those Tip-offs as following missions. I always got them while being in a ring, shooting ships, or even mining. And I did (allied to a faction) huge amounts of missions per day with big ships and never something like that happened. When I changed to a smaller ship and started to do missions with this, all of a sudden, those missions were triggered. (It seems to me, as if FDEV wants you to fly smaller ships, they are more fun anyway ;-))
 
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I did never get those Tip-offs as following missions. I always got them while being in a ring, shooting ships, or even mining. And I did (allied to a faction) huge amounts of missions per day with big ships and never something like that happened. When I changed to a smaller ship and started to do missions with this, all of a sudden, those missions were triggered. (It seems to me, as if FDEV wants you to fly smaller ships, they are more fun anyway ;-))
Hmmm, strange... Have you any recorded evidence (screenshots, logs?) of Tip Off missions received "while being in a ring, shooting ships, or even mining" (Missions entitled as "Tip Off" in the commanders inbox - in English game client localisation)? Don't mix them with just randomly generated missions (or follow ups) that appear when your commander spend some time in the black outside of stations - those are absolutely different missions with other underlying mechanics.
 
Have you any recorded evidence (screenshots, logs?) of Tip Off missions received "while being in a ring, shooting ships, or even mining" (Missions entitled as "Tip Off" in the commanders inbox - in English game client localisation)?...
can I find them in the commanders logs? I would look it up...
 
can I find them in the commanders logs? I would look it up...
Postfactum - no.
That is the problem with this kind of missions - they literally don't leave any traces anywhere (the missions themselves - only scanning at destination - if visited - do generate some events in the commanders journal).
The only way to "hunt" them - doing screenshots as soon as you encountered them (and the "screenshot event" with timestamp will be in the journal).
Also, in the "netlogs" (not in the player journal) and only if "verboselogging" flag is manually set "ON" in advance in configuration files ("off" by default) there will be traces (however this event is not unique for "tip off"'s so only can be used in conjunction with "screenshot" event to better get exact timing).
 
Just completed the Tip off in HIP 12248 on 5A.

I gained most of the rep stacking kill pirate missions in Uszaa, but the mission popped in Una after only handing in one or two credit donation missions. So it does not seem to be tied to only one faction, but possibly to gaining rep with factions you are already allied with.

Only thing of note was that the core data package was worth more than normal 3825035 cr.

Scanned message:
Corporate data log: The chairman of the board has been eliminated. You way is clear to take up her position. Don't worry, you won't have any trouble getting support from the other board members. I've applied some gentle persuasion so you'll have the majority vote. Deposit the payment as per my instructions, ans remember - it would be foolish of you to try and double-cross me.
 
Just completed the Tip off in HIP 12248 on 5A.

I gained most of the rep stacking kill pirate missions in Uszaa, but the mission popped in Una after only handing in one or two credit donation missions. So it does not seem to be tied to only one faction, but possibly to gaining rep with factions you are already allied with.
yep, for sure it is not tied to only one faction - and you can get TO-missions from different factions even in the same system. However taking into account all the possibilities it is difficult to get any clear quantitative data in that "complex" case. And yes, "rep history" is most probably one of the important factors. Is the faction in Una is the one from those you've gained rep with in Uszaa?
Honestly, haven't analysed if any dependencies are present for the prices of the received data packages (beside the fact that they are times bigger for those sites commander have an active and valid mission).
 
CMDR Secret Name reporting in.

I got 9 tip-offs over the course of 2 days when doing imperial courier missions.
Right after choosing the reward the message was in my inbox, as someone previously said.
It may be possible that completing linked missions is connected to spawning tip-offs. I got two tip offs today that contradicts tip-offs based on linked missions.

My theory is: building reputation with specific factions will spawn specific tip-offs or increase some random factor that is checked before tip-off is triggered.
That way we are "guided" in some way.
Maybe building reputation with more "important" factions, like aegis, sirius etc will give some more of those "rare" tips.
They should have some classified info...
Also state/economy/allegiance of the factions may be important.


As I was writing this: I just finished 2 missions with disabling the megaship turrets for the first time.
I got two tip-offs in 5 seconds just as I completed two missions and took money as a reward in both.
Both missions were from future of arro naga. One to moraikda, other to hip 1742, and both sites are already investigated into when I check spreadsheet.
Also I am alllied to pilots federation local branch and all of the factions, that may be important (or may not).

Peace, and happy investigating.
 
Thank you for reporting in, commander Secret Name !

9 tip-offs over couple of days - really a good catch! I've never been that successful!

Can confirm that receiving 2 TO's from subsequent turning in of two missions is possible

About "reputation or other factor" theory - yes, so far that is the main working assumption.

While I don't like the idea of ruining anyone's immersion into the game I always remember that somewhere "on the other side" of any implemented in-game mechanics there is an underlying designers work (and reasoning).

So the real TO triggering mechanics must not be "too complex"=)

Also there can be other partly similar mechanics present in-game (FD designers team is countable=) )

So:

1)i'm sure that there are no "specific" tip-offs (only the "furthest from available" rule is applied => end message group depends solely on your current geo-location, already received missions and time - for timetable driven sites)

2)neither I think that there are any "more important than others" minor factions from the point of view of tip off triggering mechanics.

3)State and economy. Hmm. Doubt in that. I don't see any reason to influence triggering directly. However they do affect missions availability and quality for a given commander.

3)Allegiance. I'm not a BGS-player, but if I haven't mistaken there can be some possible "boost" from minor faction allegiance to a superpower in conjunction with commander's rep in that superpower for BGS-related profit. That can be also the case for tip off triggering "unknown factors".

o7
 
Interesting reading. I have recently spent the most time running missions from one system that I have ever done (by a lot) and have received NO tip-off messages. I didn't actually think of it until I read this thread.
I have gotten a few of these over my time playing ED, so this is a bit remarkable.
 
Interesting reading. I have recently spent the most time running missions from one system that I have ever done (by a lot) and have received NO tip-off messages. I didn't actually think of it until I read this thread.
I have gotten a few of these over my time playing ED, so this is a bit remarkable.
As I've said, up to now we have no complete understanding of how TO mission triggering is implemented and that's said no 100% working recipe of how to get them (while plenty of assumptions).
Also I must admit (and that's not only in my own experience) that there were situations when I was sure that I MUST get at least one - and nothing new in the inbox. In fact some months ago that resulted finally in creation of a little code to examine and count accurately all related information (missions, credits earned/donated, influence/reputation "pluses" and all that for all encountered - by a given commander - minor factions individually). That's been done I have reexamined the above mentioned "negative" situations, comparing them with cases that have produced some TO's. Conclusion - after "quantitative" analysis - cases when earlier I was sure that "I must get at least one" were just "false impressions".
One can consider that:
1)While in all that concerns TO location generation really "random" factors are minimal that may not be the case for TO mission triggering mechanics. So far no proves of the contrary.
2)hypothetical hidden factors/values (gained/influenced by commander) can be time-dependent, i.e. degrade over time on - say - per tick/per day basis.
Both assumptions are legal and so they can transform any quantitative analysis into quite a complex task.
Pity I haven't noticed in advance that there was a burning station introduced in beta - they are imo the best opportunities for the experimentation in that domain.

o7
 
There is also much simpler possibility.
Tip-offs are given completely at random when finishing a mission.

Like 0.05 chance regardless of reputation/alliance/any other factors.
 
There is also much simpler possibility.
Tip-offs are given completely at random when finishing a mission.

Like 0.05 chance regardless of reputation/alliance/any other factors.
Yes, as so far still hard to prove the contrary.

But this means that for any commander who bother to do any missions anywhere there is a (constant) probability to get tip offs "from time to time". Can not say that this is common.

Also, kind of my own "general understanding" of the said mechanics - tip offs are kind of payoffs or a form of "gratitude" from a minor faction to a given commander for a long-lasted profitable collaboration. So far my own observations show that there is a bigger gap between first tip off from a given faction and subsequent ones. So most probably the mechanics is not that simple=) Also, that can be regarded as a method of "distraction" - i.e. to send away (as far as possible) a commander who have spent too much time in one location.
 
It's indeed easy to think that it could just be a random occurrence with a low probability. One thing I can relate about this is that I have never gotten any of the 5 TO missions that I've been offered before I have done numerous missions for a faction (or factions) and been well past allied with them. Is that definitive evidence? Not by itself.
Also, all of the TO missions offered to me were upon completion (handing-in, if you will) of missions while docked at station. I've never received any in the way described by @Max Bothin. Make of that what you will...

The suggestion that TOs might be a way to send us away from an "area" we've been spending a lot if time in is an interesting one. As you saw from my previous post, I don't claim any definitive and/or quantifiable evidence in my experiences with these.
That said, my experience doesn't suggest this because I would have expected to have gotten a TO mission in my current situation. I've been playing pretty aimlessly for some time now (no real goals in mind) and have spent an immense amount of time in a handful of systems just running missions for Mats/encoded Mats and for credits, etc. The vast majority of these missions have been run from the same system and the same base.
...and, having said that, I do realize that probability doesn't really work that way either. The chance of a hit is the same each time you run a mission; it doesn't change based upon the number of times that you run a mission.

Just to note: by "some time" I mean that I've been in this area for well over a month's time and have done approx. 350 jumps between systems. Even with some stacking, that's a pretty big number of missions. I've been allied with most of the factions for a significant fraction of those missions, as you might imagine.

I agree that the mechanism appears quite opaque and I'm always interested to read about your and other CMDR's observations & experiences with these. Thanks CMDRs!
 
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