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'Elite Dangerous' To Get Major Updates Throughout 2018

Over the weekend, Frontier Developments held its first Frontier Expo, where it showcased upcoming plans for its lineup of titles. This includes its popular space exploration game Elite Dangerous. Players currently have their hands full as they fight the new Thargoid threat, and as the war continues, the developers will be hard at work with new content coming in the form of additional updates.

Frontier calls these series of content releases “Beyond,” as in what happens beyond the recently released “The Return” update that brought back the Thargoids. Based on the small timeline provided by the studio, it seems that this new batch of content will be available throughout 2018. They are book-ended by two major updates in Q1 and Q4, but they all focus on three major parts of Elite Dangerous: advancing the narrative, improving core gameplay mechanics, and introducing new features and content.

The Q1 update will continue some of the stories that are currently in progress within the game's universe. If you want to unravel some of these story lines, you’ll have to venture outside of your usual trade routes and hunting grounds. You’ll be rewarded for that exploration in the form of special items. In addition, you can now listen to galactic news as you travel across multiple systems with a new GalNet Audio feature.

If you prefer to continue your life of space trucking or piracy, the Q1 update will also introduce new mechanics to keep you at the edge of your seat. This includes improvements to system authority ships—which will act accordingly based on the severity of your crimes—and a better trade system, so that you know which items are best sold at a higher price. If you play with friends, you’ll also see more wing-based missions that will put your teamwork skills to the test.

Later in the year, the Q4 update will bring about a clan-like feature called “Squadrons.” This organizational tool allows you to recruit other pilots and create a system of hierarchy within your group. Joining these Squadrons also provides improved “communication options” and even the ability to purchase a fleet carrier, which you can use a mobile base as you and your comrades explore the galaxy. Speaking of exploration, the developers plan to improve on your trailblazing activities with new anomalies and events that occur in uncharted systems. You’ll also get a handy in-game Codex, which will serve as your main source for lore and keep track of exploration milestones. There are also plans to improve the mining experience with the likes of a new tools set and better methods of detecting and extracting resources. Those changes are supposed to make it so you can use the role as your main source of income within the game.

Smaller content drops will land in between these major updates. These include new missions, scenarios, and even ships, such as the recently revealed Krait and Chieftain fighter ships. Frontier also plans to improve many of the game’s visual features such as lighting, ambient and volumetric effects, and the scatter rock system. Most of these improvements are specifically targeted towards the many celestial bodies strewn about the galaxy, which means you could see more spectacular planet surfaces by late next year.

If you own the game’s Horizons expansion, you’ll get all of these updates for free. It's also available as a $30 purchase. If you don’t own Elite Dangerous and want to take part in the ongoing conflict with the Thargoids you can get the base game, Horizons, and the Commander’s Pack, which includes multiple paint schemes for different jobs, for $60.

NameElite Dangerous
TypeSci-fi, Space simulator
DeveloperFrontier Developments
PublisherFrontier Developments
Release DateDecember 16, 2015 (PC)June 3, 2016 (Xbox One)June 27, 2017
PlatformsPC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Where To BuyFrontier StoreSteamPlayStation StoreXbox StoreAmazonBest BuyTargetGameStop
  • mapesdhs
    I am particularly impressed with the way FD are panning out the Thargoid story arc; recently there is debate as to whether the types of 'Goid ships currently seen in the game are actually the good guys, and as such players shouldn't be attacking them (in the lore of the game, there was more than one Thargoid race, a split somewhat akin to the Vorlons vs. Shadows in B5). This video talks about the idea:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBDkQFNRejg

    There are of course all sorts of technical updates going in, in 2.4 and later, and many people want to see the ability to land on planets that have atmospheres (very complicated, I'd rather it took a while to do it properly than be rushed out and look terrible), but IMO this more involved storyline with the Thargoids is the best thing FD have done in the game so far, it opens up the possibility of PvP conflict based on the story in the game itself. Some players are already declaring they will defend the Thargoids currently being seen in the game.

    Apart from that, personally I look foward to the exploration updates, and hope FD can add further factual content to the game in terms of phenomena in space that can be represented, such as stars that are cool enough for ships to fly amid their upper layers, ditto gas giants, fast-orbiting supergiants, etc.

    Ian.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    Yep. Very interested in how this develop!
    Elite is really getting robust space simulator Little by Little.
    Reply
  • Weps
    Meh, I won't be holding my breath for any of these "significant" changes. Nothing has been explained in detail, and for years now, this game has seen bombastic promises followed by bare bones implementation.
    Reply
  • devinous
    I read on an earlier post about ED, folks complaining about costing too much. Are they playing the same game as there is no monthly, I bought the game and the updates and that it it. As far as MMO's go for what you get the price point on this game is extremely cheap. As far as updates go (have been playing for a few years now) I usually find my self playing a ton right after but then it goes dry pretty quick. The main issue is that they are upgrading tech left and right but not upgrading drives and don't get me started on the roulette wheel of the engineers as you really do not know what your going to get and even that, best case scenario is maybe 50-70 light-year jump and with that kind of rating it takes a really long time to get places. Example - I have the 3rd largest ship in game and I currently (full armed, armored and all slots full) can jump 31 ly, and this is with a few spins of the roulette engineer wheel. A trip to to the new area (bubble) Colonia with jumping in, honking and jumping out (1m to 1m30s) it was a 13 hour trip. In distance this is about 1/3 of a trip from end to end of the galaxy. Add in no legs, no atmospheric planet landing and lack of fauna and there is alot of stuff yet to be built out. Also I have to say comparing it to Star Citizen... well ED has a map and 450 billion+ planets/stars and you can already land and drive around on a good portion, Star Citizen not so much. ED just has to add legs and atmospheric landings with Fauna and you have what Star Citizen wants to be.

    Ton more to add but ED is playable after the updates and here and there on the weekends - unless you get in with a good group/guild etc that keep you active. I watch videos of ED and I think wow cant wait to get off work and log in and then 15 minutes after I do I am looking for something else to play.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs
    20398185 said:
    I read on an earlier post about ED, folks complaining about costing too much. Are they playing the same game as there is no monthly, I bought the game and the updates and that it it. ...

    I just bought the lifetime option, so nothing extra required for as long as the servers keep going I guess.



    20398185 said:
    ... I usually find my self playing a ton right after but then it goes dry pretty quick. The main issue is that they are upgrading tech left and right but not upgrading drives ...

    I guess it depends what one excepts from the game. I can imagine that someone who is able to dedicate a lot of time to the game may find it, at present, a tad shallow in some ways. There's a lot of things FD could do to improve this, but many of them would mean them not pandering to the PvP crowd, and that's difficult. It's the only reason why Power Play was created.



    20398185 said:
    ... and don't get me started on the roulette wheel of the engineers as you really do not know what your going to get and even that, ...

    I think that's the whole point. :D If they merely offered fixed/known upgrades with no tradeoffs, it would just be liking buying any other pre-existing item. However, it's not the detail of the Engineer structure that irritates me, rather that it's just another example of FD tinkering around the edges with how the game works, rather than making it have genuine depth, which they could certainly do, but doing so means their letting go of their control of the game world to some extent, and that's hard for a dev company to do.



    20398185 said:
    ... best case scenario is maybe 50-70 light-year jump and with that kind of rating it takes a really long time to get places. ...

    It *should* take a really long time to go anywhere, the universe is BIG. :D

    What would be the point of it being easy to go anywhere in no time at all?



    20398185 said:
    ...it was a 13 hour trip. ...

    Sounds pretty fast to me. :D 26000ly in just over half a day, hehe.

    I'm prodding a bit, but my point is that the game is set at a future fictional time where we don't yet have mega uber zip anywhere fasty fast tech, so changing the game world just so a real person in their bedroom can do a particular thing in fewer hours makes no sense. The whole point of the game in its scale is that it's supposed to reflect reality in some sense, going somewhere like SagA* should feel like a long journey because it literally is. Take that away and the simulation aspect of the game would be destroyed.



    20398185 said:
    ... Add in no legs, no atmospheric planet landing and lack of fauna and there is alot of stuff yet to be built out. ...

    Good; by that I mean, the game doesn't have those things yet because they're not yet ready. Not trying to do everything all at once is one of the very best things FD are doing with this game. Building it up over time, adding things and getting them right (at least from their point of view). If they added all the things you mention in a single update, the number of new issues introduced would be enormous. At the end of the day we're dealing with code, code has bugs, change too many things at once and it becomes much more difficult to work out what's going wrong.



    20398185 said:
    ...Also I have to say comparing it to Star Citizen...

    Ah yes, the never ending money sink hole of a tech demo. :D The issues surrounding that game are exacty why FD taking it one step at a time is the better way. Numerous people, including former employees, say the main guy behind SC is simply trying to pack too much into the game at first launch. It won't work. Look how long the project has been going on, the enormous amount of money people have plouged into it, still no proper release. Of course, those who have paid into it will get very defense about the project because they will feel a strong need to justify their spending decisions (and some have spend many thousands), but that doesn't change the fact that as a game SC still doesn't exist.



    20398185 said:
    ... ED just has to add legs and atmospheric landings with Fauna and you have what Star Citizen wants to be.

    Gettin those aspects right is the critical part, because there are an awul lot of ways they could get it so very wrong. The very nature of what's involved in portraying worlds with atmospheres, fauna, etc., means it's a far greater challenge just doing a moon or planet with no atmosphere. So much more complicated. I'm sure this is why FD wants to update the general planet generation system first and beef up the exploration system a bit (next year) because at least visually the current system isn't as good as it used to be, and atm some things are not even possible with how it works (such as caverns and caves), things that would be necessary for an armospheric planet setup.



    20398185 said:
    Ton more to add but ED is playable after the updates and here and there on the weekends - unless you get in with a good group/guild etc that keep you active. ...

    I'm in the Wolves of Jonai, best group IMO. ;)

    Ian.


    Reply