Since its launch in December, Elite: Dangerous has undergone a few changes in its gameplay. The introduction of Powerplay added allegiances to in-game leaders within the three major factions. CQC, or Close Quarters Combat, is another new feature coming soon, allowing players to participate in quick multiplayer matches, similar to first-person shooters, with various ships.
At Gamescom, its developer, the UK-based Frontier Developments, announced more changes to the game in the form of a new expansion coming in the holiday season of 2015 called Horizons.
The new expansion will provide a whole series of content, starting with planetary landings. For those who haven't played the game, Elite: Dangerous takes place in our own Milky Way galaxy, allowing players to visit each of the 400 billion (that's not a typo) systems.
At the moment, pilots can only fly to various systems and dock in space stations that orbit planets. With planetary landings, you will be able to land on a planet and use the new Scarab, a Surface Recon Vehicle to explore strange signals, find resources and investigate crash sites. With 400 billion star systems to explore, landing on each planet and exploring every inch of the surface is bound to put a significant dent in your space exploration time.
In the first quarter of 2016, Horizons will introduce a loot and crafting system to the game, and then continuous updates to the expansion throughout 2016. The details are slim at this point, but the developers should be revealing more information near the end of the year.
If you haven't bought the base game, Elite: Dangerous will cost $44.99. On the other hand, Horizons will cost $59.99, or $74.99 if you want to participate in the beta version of the expansion. Those who already bought the game will receive a $15 discount towards Horizons and will be able to unlock the Cobra Mk IV ship for purchase in the game. Frontier is also offering a Lifetime Expansion Pass, guaranteeing players access to future content, all for the high price of $195.