Elite Dangerous - Complete Decoding the Ancient Ruins
Since the beginning of this year, commanders in Elite Dangerous have been dealing with more and more appearances of the alien race, the Thargoids. It all started with the discovery of ancient ruins back in January, followed by interdictions of commanders by alien vessels in deep space, and Thargoids were most recently encountered near alien structures called “Barnacles”. While most of the alien intentions are shrouded in mystery, it is clear that Frontier Developments have more plans for the Thargoids, and we should all be ready for them.
To be properly prepared for any future alien conflict means commanders will need the resources to outfit themselves properly, and that means money. Lots of it. Luckily for us, a mission has been available for quite some time that will pay out upwards of 200 million credits upon completion, and the brainy folks at the Canonn Interstellar Research Group have managed to solve it. The general gist of the mission is that commanders are supposed to discover ancient ruin sites, collect ancient artifacts, and scan a total of 101 obelisks to gain knowledge of this ancient civilization. Sounds like a bunch of lore mumbo-jumbo to me, but there is a big pay check waiting for us at the end of it, so let’s get started.
This guide will show you how you to complete the mission and put yourself in a position to face any future Thargoid threat.
Make no mistake about it; this large amount of money doesn’t come for free. This will take time and effort, so let’s make sure you’re properly prepared for the challenge. Here are some things you will need:
- Just about any ship will do, provided it can support the components below. We recommend an Asp Explorer. They’re nimble and don’t cost an arm and a leg, even for reasonably new players.
- You’ll want to have a jump distance of around 30ly. Upgrade your frameshift drive to make this happen.
- You’ll need at least 12t of cargo space and a planetary approach suite and SRV hangar.
- You won’t get anywhere without a fuel scoop. You’re going far and there are no gas stations along the way.
- For reference, here is a link to how I have my Asp Explorer outfitted. This is the ship I used while writing this guide.
- Finally, you may want to bring some Sulphur and Phosphorus so you can synthesize additional fuel for your SRV while you’re out in the middle of nowhere. Having to spend an hour to get to a station to refuel is not an efficient use of your time, trust me.
Tip: Your SRV will repair itself automatically when docking back with your ship, but it will not refuel itself!
Now that you’re properly outfitted, the only things left to do are to pick up the mission itself and find the appropriate ancient artifacts required to scan the obelisks at each ancient ruin site.
As a side note, these tasks can be completed in Solo Play, should you prefer to be on your own. It can be advantageous as no one will confuse your scans or snag that final relic you’re after.
Now you’re going to collect two of each of the six relevant artifacts. Each obelisk requires the correct combination of one or two artifacts to be present in your SRV’s cargo hold and you’re going to grab two of each so that we’re prepared for any possible combination.
To save time, you’re going to collect these artifacts at the first ancient ruins site that you’ll be starting your scans at, so continue on in our guide and open your galaxy map. You’re going to want to create bookmarks for each of the following systems. Then click on the first one in the table below and we’ll break down what to do when you arrive.
|System||Planet||Ancient Ruins Sites||Number of Scans|
|SYNUEFE TP-F B44-0||CD 1||Site 1 (59.33, 15.1)
Site 2 (31.96, -99.97)
Site 3 (31.88, -100.05)
|SYNUEFE LY-I B42-2||C 2||Site 1 (9.02, 48.77)
Site 2 (-10.07, 114.5)
|COL 173 SECTOR AP-Q B21-2||B 4||Site 1 (13.33, -61.55)||3|
|COL 173 SECTOR LY-Q D5-13||AB 9 A||Site 1 (71.3187, -112.4353)||4|
|VELA DARK REGION KR-W C1-24||7 C||Site 1 (-22.4296, 126.9466)||2|
|VELA DARK REGION EL-Y D32||B 1||Site 1 (7.9, 86.46)||3|
|HIP 39768||A 14 F||Site 1 (-0.0129, -149.4705)||6|
|SYNUEFE CE-R C21-6||C 1||Site 1 (-18.23, 0.27)||2|
|SYNUEFE ZL-J D10-109||E 3||Site 1 (-26.653, -148.425)||4|
|SYNUEFE ZR-I B43-10||D 2||Site 1 (13.88, -0.5478)
Site 2 (28.8065, -51.8289)
Site 3 (-32.71, -34.0391)
Gathering the Ancient Artifacts
When arriving in SYNUEFE TP-F B44-0 you will likely just be faced with many unknown planetary bodies, and while you could take the time to scan each of them to reveal their name (and collect a few extra exploration points), we’re fortunate enough to be able to guess which planet and location to target. You’re looking for the indented locations underneath a planet in your navigation chart or system map. Once you’ve located the target, lock its destination and hit supercruise.
The first site on planet CD 1 is the 3rd of the Ancient Ruin locations in the Navigation map. Once you’ve landed at the site, your first task is to collect the ancient artifacts as outlined earlier in this guide. You need two of each type. This map marks their locations.
Keep in mind that other commanders may be in the area and may have taken some artifacts already. Fear not, however, they do respawn after a short while. Some artifacts are surrounded by rocks and even lifted into the air, so make use of your SRV’s turret and destroy those rocks. Then simply scoop up the item into your SRV’s cargo hold. You can only carry two artifacts at a time, so be sure to drive back to your ship and transfer the cargo when you’re full.
How to Scan and Read the Maps
Once you have two of each artifact (Casket, Orb, Relic, Tablet, Totem, Urn) aboard your ship, it’s time to start scanning. This is where things become a little tedious, so you may find it helpful to print out this cheat sheet to keep track of what you’ve scanned. The following sections of our guide will show you images of each ancient ruin site and which obelisks to scan, using the specific combination of artifacts in your SRV cargo hold.
We’ll go over an example at Site 1.
You’re already here, so follow the instructions from the example above and get busy scanning. There are 18 possible scans here, so you’ll get the hang of things rather quickly.
You’ll start at the top: 1 C15. This tells you the shortcut to the location on the map, and which scan you will attain there. The C stands for Culture, as per your cheat sheet.
Locating the 1 on the map, you’ll see it say “1 ToTo”. This means you need two Totems in your SRV’s cargo hold. Drive to the highlighted obelisk, target it, and scan it. This can be a little bit tricky sometimes, so be patient. If you’ve correctly scanned it, you will receive a mission update notification, and if you check your Transactions tab, you should see that your reward has increased by 1 million credits.
Each scan is worth 1 million, so it’s easy to keep track. Check off the location on your cheat sheet and carry on to the next one. We also suggest that you do not clear your notifications until you’ve cleared a site so that it’s easy to compare what you’ve gathered vs. what the map and your cheat sheet say. By the end of your time at Site 1, you should have 18 million credits waiting for you with Ram Tah.
But that’s just the start. Now just do that 100 times and you’re nearly done!
Leave site 1 and break orbit so that you can target the second ancient ruin location and land there. Once again, follow the same pattern as before, except this time you won’t need to worry about collecting artifacts as you’ve already got everything you need in the belly of your ship.
Tip: Many of the planets you’ll be visiting have multiple ancient ruin sites. There’s no easy way to tell which one you’re looking for until you get into orbital flight, at which time you can match up the coordinates in your cockpit with those listed on the map image.
The third and final site on this planet is a little bit less spread out, but you’ll have to watch out for some serious changes in elevation for some of the obelisk locations. Easy on the throttle, you don’t want to break that SRV of yours so soon!
This planet also has two ancient ruin sites. Well, three, but you’re only interested in the first two. The first site is glaringly simple. You’ll appreciate having to scan just three obelisks here, especially if you’ve been doing everything in this guide in one go so far. Take care of business and head back into orbit towards site 2.
You’ll have to guess which of the other two ancient ruin sites you need to go to, but once you get there, it’s distinguishable. This is a nice site with reasonably flat grounds and obelisk groupings that are easily spotted from just about anywhere. When you’re done here, congratulate yourself a little bit as you’re now more than half-way done your quest!
To reach this planet you must head even further away from civilization. Don’t forget to fuel scoop regularly and you’ll see be at the site of three more active ancient obelisks to scan. Oh, and does this site look familiar? That’s because it’s almost identical to the previous one you just came from.
Tip: When you first arrive in a new system, you will only see Unexplored items in your navigation tab. You can help narrow down your target based on the distance it is away from the entry point that is provided on each map image. It’s not an exact science but it’s better than flying blind.
Here’s another familiar looking site. Getting bored yet? It is a little bit tedious but keep your eye on the prize! Now go forth and scan four more obelisks, Commander!
Our first of two stops in the Vela Dark Region, this site has only two obelisks for you to scan.
It’ll take you longer to reach this planet from the system’s entry point than it will to scan the three obelisks. So, strap in and prepare for a bit of a ride.
If you’re tired of making slow progress by only scanning two or three obelisks per system, you’ll enjoy scratching six more obelisks off your lists in the HIP 39768 system.
Ready for the home stretch? All the remaining planets are quite far away from your entry point into their respective systems, so be prepared to have something else to do while you fly around in supercruise. This one is uneventful, just be aware of the vertical challenges at this location.
This one is the farthest away planet from the star’s entry point yet, but it’s worth it because it’s also the second to last one!
Welcome to the final system of our guide. There are a total of three ancient alien ruin sites on this planet and the good news is that it doesn’t matter which one you land at first. Just be sure to keep an eye on your coordinates and then find the correct map image below.
Collecting your Reward
Once you’ve scanned all 101 obelisks, check your mission tab and you’ll see that your final reward is now 201 million credits. All you must do now is set course back to Felice Dock in the Meene system and cash in. Once you’re docked, go to the Mission Board and talk to the Bureau of Meene Order’s Captain Minerva Hunter. She will let you claim the reward, a cool 201 million credits.
This guide is by no means the only way to complete this mission. There are many more ancient ruin sites across the galaxy, all of which provide the artifacts required to scan obelisks, and all have obelisks that provide one or more of the 101 required scans. This guide merely points out one possible way that this mission is achievable, and I’ve spent the time to ensure it works right.
References, Helpful Links, and Credits
The amount of effort and time spent by many people who deciphered this mission, found the various alien ruins sites, and much more are uncountable. Below are some useful links to various tools, other resources, and guides that all played a vital role in this guide. We thank them all!
- Canonn Interstellar Research Group
- Ancient Guardians Mission Guide by CMDR. Dognosh
- CMDR masCh KisieL’s interactive maps
- Supporting Spreadsheet by Reddit user ante900310
- Elite: Dangerous PvE – Mobius group (highly recommended for open, friendly lobbies)
- Ancient Guardian Lore (Scan Messages)