Marginally Beta Price: Elite Dangerous Standard Beta Out

This didn't end well for me.

It’s been a little hard to keep track of the different ways to buy access to Elite: Dangerous, but it’s a lot simpler since yesterday’s launch of the Standard Beta. Players who want to start fighting and flying in the space-faring sequel immediately can now do so for £50/$75, and those willing to wait for the finished game can pay £35 to pre-order. The higher or additional costs of the Premium Beta and Lifetime Expansion Pass are no longer available.

What does that mean? Another notch along Elite Dangerous’s attempts to make a space game with 400 billion star systems. I’ve outlined some of the notable Standard Beta patch notes below.

Here’s the trailer for the new beta, in case you need your memory refreshed about what spaceships are:

As outlined on the Elite forums, there’s a pile of new addition for the standard beta including: two new playable ships, the Viper and Lakon Type 6; an expanded playable area that’s now 21 38,000 cubic lightyears in size; voice comms and text chat for swearing at space chums; and the introduction of fuel as a consumable resource.

The latter is important for the future of the game. Thus far players have been limited to a (relatively) small area of the galaxy and able to freely jump between its various ‘islands’: planets, space stations, asteroid fields. Making fuel conservation important is the beginning of giving Elite’s empty outerspace a shape, and lays the groundwork for the trade and exploration mechanics to follow. Already players will have to make decisions about efficient travel routes, or what items to leave behind to make their ship lighter.

No matter how these systems end up, I liked the version of Elite: Dangerous I played earlier this year. There’s a long way to go before it’s an AI-populated universe full of traders and smugglers, all emergent and procedural and reminiscent of your childhood, but Frontier wisely began by creating a functional core of satisfying combat. It doesn’t matter that there’s still not much to do, because shunting power from shields, to engines, to weapons, and dogfighting with enemy craft is already thrilling. Never more so than when you’re wearing the Oculus Rift.

Of course, it’s up to you whether you’re impatient and profligate enough to think it’s worth £50 while unfinished. All I can do is point you towards Adam’s impressions, our hot space chat, and Alec’s interviews (one, two) series creator David Braben.


  1. Zonker says:

    Wow, 20€ more just to get into the beta? Did they just arbitrarily set these prices or is this due to them matching some crowdfunding pledge levels as happened with Planetary Annihilation before?

    I think I’m done with early access. At this point, it just seems like either lazy developers in for an early buck or a good way to burn out a game before it even releases in a finished and somewhat bug-free state. Paying MORE for that questionable “privilege” just seems like a really bad bargain to me at this point.

    But looking at the insanity that is Star Citizen, I guess this won’t go away any time soon.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If people will pay it, you are crazy not to charge it.

      This is how you get your most ardent fans to put their wallets where their mouth is.

      They’ll get the money from the rest of us when it’s finished and drops to a saner price, or even later when it drops to a hefty Steam sale. Everyone ends up buying, and everyone ends up paying as much as you can make them.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      It’s to match the Elite Kickstarter pledge levels.

      • c-Row says:

        It’s worth pointing out that as a standard backer with no beta access whatsoever you could upgrade to the standard beta for only €18 recently. Since the money initially spent on Kickstarter has long been gone out of my account anyway another few quid for early access didn’t hurt that much, especially after the raving first impressions from RPS staff.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          Indeed. And since those reviews, the Beta’s got better.

        • PoulWrist says:

          Indeed it was tempting, but I left off pressing that button till later. I was more interested in the lifetime pass thing… but that’s no longer available either, so I am just going to be happy about the fact that the game only cost me 30£ :)

        • spamenigma says:

          I paid £15 yesterday to upgrade from KS backer to give me beta access. Its not a lot of money, not much more than a months mmo subscription and I had no problem with giving a bit more to contribute a little towards development of this game. However when I got to play it was I disappointed? Was I ****!!!! Its just awesome! No image, video or text can show or describe the feeling of piloting the ship.

          I soon got used to docking and flying to other stations and now I can’t wait to see this game progress. Its the totally opposite impression than I got from Star Citizen which I’ve paid a hell of a lot more for and so far felt a little disappointed but obviously early days so wont judge, just illustrating how my expectations of Elite were going to be similar and I was in for a surprise! Also works great with 3 display surround :)

          Best £15 I spent yesterday!!

    • DarkLiberator says:

      That’s funny because with Star Citizen you can get the whole game, and beta/alphas for 30 bucks if you backed in the beginning. Elite was kinda overpriced so I went with SC and Limit Theory instead.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        Star Citizen looks like it may one day be a good game, but it’s too early to tell. I’m not overly fond of Mouse Commander, or their P2W power (ship) sales, but it still looks like it could end up being a great game.

        But Elite is a great game right now.

        Anyway, with Elite, Star Citizen, Enemy Starfighter, Limit theory, Homeworld shipbreakers and HD, et cetra… it’s great to see space games making a strong comeback.

      • Love Albatross says:

        Except Elite is a real game that you can play now, while Star Citizen hasn’t even managed to deliver the latest patch they’ve been promising for weeks.

        • BobbyDylan says:

          Actually the patch landed a few minutes ago.

          • Love Albatross says:

            From the patch notes:

            “Freelancer bunk beds can now be used
            Freelancer bathroom and toilet can now be used”


      • Wytefang says:

        What’s actually funny (and yet sad) is that Star Citizen has badly over-promised and is already suffering from massive feature-creep and delays. There are plenty of people who suspect it may never even see the light of day or end up as a Battlecruiser 3000AD fiasco. I’m one of them.

        And after watching their laughably bad dogfighting video, I’m even more convinced that THAT game is in big trouble or at the best, off to a horrible start. I remember the moment when the guy launched his ship out of the hanger and the sound of people being underwhelmed at that launch was palpable. It just slowly slipped quietly and blandly out of the hangar and while things picked up a bit afterwards, you could easily tell that people were like, “What? That was it?”

        With Elite:Dangerous, it’s so much farther along and actually seems to already understand what makes for a fun game (as this RPS article indicates, it already understands how important it is to nail the dogfighting and flying portion of the game.

        If someone forced me to put a ten-spot down at some Vegas gambling house over which game will end up being a better game and/or launch more feature-complete, it’d be an easy choice – Elite Dangerous by a mile.

        • derbefrier says:

          spoken like someone who only has a passing knowledge of whats going on in star citizen. You are very very wrong Elite being farther along in development does not equate to SC being a failure which is what you are doing here don’t be an idiot. SC has had delays(so has elite which everyone seems to forget) but the game is coming along quite nicely and is already fun to play. you really just shouldn’t repeat what you read in other comment sections around the internet by other oblivious fools as gospel. it makes it obvious you have no idea what you are talking about. Educate yourself on the game before making comments like this. there is no feature creep, all the planned features are coming along nicely, but you’d know that if you weren’t just talking out of your ass. The only real issue with SC is the delays which any reasonable person would expect given the scale of the game it not all gonna get done in 2 years.

          also what dogfighting video are you refering too because right now ships don’t fly out of hangars in SC it simply goes into a loading screen(this is something that is getting added later) but right now its not implemented further proof you are full of crap

          • Richard Nixon says:

            Just because they’re making progress on all the planned features doesn’t mean there isn’t feature creep. Personally, I think Star Citizen is overextending itself with respect to what they promise, which is leading to the longer development time. For example, I don’t think that the FPS elements are necessary, and I’d cite X:Rebirth as an example of how these can really hurt a game if badly done (stations ugh). I feel that Star Citizen’s development would’ve benefitted from focusing on a smaller set of goals to start, and only promising new things once the old ones are in a decent state.

            Like the dude above you said, I also think that charging for ships is about the worst form of Pay2Win there is, as you’re literally paying real cash money for in-game power. I know this’ll be present to some degree either way thanks to the grey market that shows up in any MMO, but it’s gonna be way more widespread in SC.

            All that said, this is just why I, personally, am not a big fan of SC and its development cycle and am looking forward to E:D much more. I can totally see someone else with a different set of priorities being a bigged SC fan, and I’d love to be proven wrong re: SC and have two great space games.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            You just made a perfect example of how NOT to formulate an argument. You made about 2 half decent points in response to what he said. The rest was a wall of insults which proved absolutely jack shit.

          • Wytefang says:

            And wrong. But that’s what happens when you make blind assumptions out of love for a videogame (not that I can’t blame you, I’ve done the same myself). I’ve followed the entire development (with a few gaps, mind you) and I’m hardly the only one saying the things I just said. Many writers are concerned with SC and its development and with good reason. Just because you love SC doesn’t mean you should put blinders on about it, either. So lighten up, Francis. :P

            Time will tell what happens with SC but at this rate, it’s going to be a LONG time at that. Good luck!

        • FriendlyFire says:

          Battlecruiser 3000AD is pushing it.

          What I expect to happen is that Roberts will basically do what he did last time. Have people already forgotten what Freelancer was promised as, and what was delivered instead? The game that came out was a good game, a great game even, but it was a far cry from what they were hyping up prior. They just ran out of money (despite having a fairly massive budget for the time) and had to get bailed by Microsoft to finish the game. It shows: there’s a bunch of things you can dig in the game’s files that ended up not being used, some parts of the game, especially the multiplayer, were evidently rushed out, post-release support was laughable (one patch to add primitive anti-cheat to the multiplayer server, that’s it!).

          I really think that Star Citizen might end up as a repeat of that story.

          • Zenicetus says:

            It won’t end up like Battlecruiser 3000AD, or the recent failure of X:Rebirth, because there are too many eyes on the project. You only get disasters like those when development is done in a closed bubble.

            But I agree, with Roberts steering the project, we can assume that feature creep will probably keep SC from becoming what it might be in other hands. A game like this doesn’t NEED all the stuff they’re promising to be successful.

            Personally, I’m only interested in whatever singleplayer experience the game has to offer, so it looks like I’ll be flying Elite for quite a while before that’s available in SC.

          • Wytefang says:

            Friendly Fire, you’re probably more right than I am – I tend to be more a wee bit more alarmist or cynical, at times, about these things. I DO want both games to turn out awesome because then EVERYONE wins. :)

            I just hope that people don’t end up getting ripped off. It’s been SO long since we had some great Space-flight combat sims worth a crap. :)

    • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      Funnily enough, I keep getting stuff cheap thanks to early access on Steam. Because things are up on the store for a good while before release they often pop up in a sale (whether the big summer/winter ones or just a smaller daily/midweek/weekend one) so you can grab them cheap before release rather than having to wait until months after release before they appear on sale. Got Planetary Annihilation for £10, for example, which I’m pretty happy with. Haven’t played it yet, happy to wait, but when it’s finished I’ll have got it on release day effectively at a big discount.

      Sorry, not directly related to Elite Dangerous, just thought I’d mention it as a funny consequence of Early Access, it sometimes allows you to get games cheaper without waiting until 6 months after release or whatever. (Don’t suppose Jim has any thoughts on this? I also grabbed Sir when it was half price while still in development, would be interested if he has any views on how sales affected, er, sales.)

  2. goalcam says:

    I really don’t get this. I have no issue with early access plans in general, paying less or even as much as full retail for the game before it is completed, but paying MORE than full price so that you get to play it before it’s finished? That’s pretty absurd to me.

    I’ll give the game a look once it is officially ‘released’ I guess, or at least once the price is at that point.

    • Sandepande says:

      Well, basically one pays for the privilege to play it early and be able to influence the game itself.

      Fortunately, we are all free to choose if it’s worth it or not. I can see no signs of an insidious marketing campaign trying to fool people into paying extra for a beta… And there are more than enough first-hand opinions about Elite: Dangerous floating around for anyone to decide if they want to take the plunge.

      • Reapy says:

        I don’t really think that people do much influencing of early access games to be honest. The most you will do is act as large, free, beta/alpha testing team that will help find bugs and obvious game imbalances. Your insight will be interesting and useful, but only as part of a chorus loud enough for the devs to respond to, not as a sole voice with an interesting perspective.

        I have no problem with early access, but I dislike charging extra for it, though I agree with needing to match backer level costs if that was the deal originally made.

        Still, alpha’s should be discounted. Most companies pay for test, you are giving it for free. Your perspective as a new person is invaluable for first impression feedback, and after you have played are tainted and unable to provide the same key insights. You are allowing them access to a broad range of hardware and software set ups, tracking down bugs they would normally might not have seen, even with several hardware set ups in house.

        I get it, you get the game ‘early’, but you are still providing a valuable service as well, and I think for that, a slight discount should be offered. When I bought the mount & blade early access, I payed around 17 dollars, and they kept upping the cost of the game as it neared completion. This was very logical to me, not starting high and dipping lower as more was added to the product.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      The pricing is actually there to incentivise people not to play it too early. The alpha level (£200) mean that only 2000 players were testing the game. 2000 of Elites most hardcore fans, affecting the direction of the game.

      As the game grows in features and stability, the price comes down, letting more people in. This will continue till it’s ready for launch and everyone can join.

      As an alpha backer, £200 was for me a cheap price to pay to be part of the Elite story, and help shape the game we’ve all been waiting 30 years to play. I’m a massive fan of it, and have spent more money on a meal before.
      However, if you’re looking for something to kill time between COD releases, £200 is exorbitant.

      • Ian Francis says:

        I completely agree with this, from a different perspective – I think this game looks really interesting, but I’m not completely convinced it’ll be “for me” and I’d rather wait to see what review sites/other players think after it’s released and buy it then, or even during a later sale. If buying into the early access was cheaper than getting it at release, I’d feel pressured (even in a small way) into buying it now rather than encouraged to wait.

        I think it’s fine to charge people who are so passionate about the game they want to be part of the beta more money, because they’re usually the ones who will get more out of it – I think games you really love and spend hundreds of hours on are usually worth more than the release price, it’s just finding those games amidst everything else .

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Yeah I think this method has done something to combat what we are seeing a lot with beta and early access stuff, which is that everybody dives in without any real desire to give feedback or watch the game grow, but just because they “MUST PLAY IT NOW”. They then don’t get a feature complete game, write it off as bad and never come back, the game losing a bunch of it’s potential playerbase at release (a potential playerbase who would have bought the game for full price instead of getting a cheap early access deal instead) because they were all too impatient to wait and had no desire to participate in the beta process.

    • Sandepande says:

      Suspiciously sensible. Must be a troll.

  3. BobbyDylan says:

    The new beta is incredable. The Alpha’s were good, but this feels like a whole new game. The graphics are improved, the gameplay slicker and faster, and the Sounds are even better, and I didn’t think that was possible!

    The downside is, that many new players is causing instability. Keep that in mind as this weekend is likely to be frustrating.

    Oh, and if anyone has a DK2, get this game. It’s fast becoming the ultimate VR experiance to date.

    • MrThingy says:

      Indeed, I’m having fantastic fun. Though if there’s one thing that’s making me more inclined to play the Solo than the Multiplayer, it’s the amount of people veering around like drunkards at ports and smashing into the docking walls and each other. That said, it is absolutely hilarious when you see someone just fly headfirst into the side of the station entrance, and in someways not dissimilar to being a CCTV operator in a hospital car park.

      There are some fun glitches though (as one would expect from a beta, and log them for the devs). Most notable being docked in the hangar in Chango station and then suddenly finding myself floating in space outside the station, then back inside again. Travelling without moving… based on Dune perhaps? ;-)

      • c-Row says:

        The only bug I encountered so far was when a pirate who attacked me suddenly stopped doing so and just hang in mid-space, waiting for me to blow him into oblivion. On the other hand I survived the encounter, so why complain?

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          Maybe the other pilot had a Jesus-moment during the fight and decided to stop fighting.

          • BobbyDylan says:

            “What I doing with my life? Would my mother be proud of me if she saw me now? Oh my god, I feel so bad. I’m so sorry, Let me…..”


    • LionsPhil says:

      It took me forever to work out what Dungeon Keeper had to do with this.

  4. fredc says:

    Bobby Dylan’s comment above is spot on.

    I actually disagree with Graham that there is nothing to do in the beta. It’s been stable and quick for me, maybe because I am playing it in solo mode only right now. But there are missions of many kinds (transport, assassination, bounty hunting etc, tied to factions), trading is implemented so you don’t have to bounty hunt and you can poke around ~50 systems scavenging for fun and profit. I imagine if you wanted yet another EVE clone you could go multiplayer and start swearing at/killing people all over the world. There’s definitely a lot more detail to implement but the galaxy is far from empty and it’s not all about a “functional core of satisfying combat”.

    That said, one of EA’s many marketing teams is weeping silent tears of pride today, having seen Frontier implement day 1 microtransactions IN A BETA. You can pay £2-3 for a custom paint job, Mechwarrior online stylee.

    • Cockie says:

      Sadly true. On the other hand, there is no way to actually see that paint yourself, so I’m not sure why you’d want one.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        When you outfit the ship you can see it, and the devs are working at a 3rd person cam that doesn’t break immersion (probably via a drone, or cameras mounded on the hull of the ship).

    • BobbyDylan says:

      True, but they’re optional skins. They don’t affect the game, but allow fans to support the game if they chose. Elite is an MMO, and to fund the servers, I’d much rather have skins sold than power (ships) or progress (Money).

      I see this as benign as TF2 hats.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      The EVE style “people constantly being dicks to each other” is the one slight apprehension I have about this or any other space game that has a large multi player world to be honest. It just seems to be the unavoidable thing that this will happen after a while but I hope they manage to find a balance that stops the easiest and most profitable path through the game just to be screw other people over constantly.

  5. JiminyJickers says:

    I’m so excited for this game, will buy it even at early prices once they release offline single player. Can’t wait.

    • Love Albatross says:

      Single player is already available, you can choose to play online, online friends only or ronery solo mode.

      • JiminyJickers says:

        Thanks, but I mean offline single player. I want to be able to play even if I have no internet connection, call me old school and paranoid, haha.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        Is the online a big focus of this? I’ve been hoping for an old school single player experience, if I wanted the internet to be joining me I’d resub to Eve.
        Friends only sounds like something I could live with.

        • Love Albatross says:

          It’s a big focus in that if you choose to go offline single you’ll miss out on the events and dynamic changes that they plan to push out to all players to make the universe feel like a living place. But otherwise you’re not missing out too much by doing this, even online most of the action will be against NPCs unless you deliberately go to busy areas to fight other people. Given the enormous size of the final game you could go a long time without seeing anyone else, particularly if you go for an exploration role.

          I’m not interested in worrying about some spacedick ganking me for his own entertainment so I’ve chosen to play in a private group, which means you occasionally see other people and can get help if needed but the chance of someone going rogue and lighting you up for giggles is far lower. It’s a really nice middle ground.

          • Lemming says:

            Put simply: you’ll get the Elite 2: Frontier experience with offline mode, you’ll get a new to the Elite series experience with online mode.

  6. whilesleepinghesaid says:

    I’m pretty much fed up with people complaining about the price for admission at the development and testing stages. If people (and journalists) can’t understand that people are paying more in order to support a game (and it’s not about ‘getting early access’) then they should just go elsewhere. These are the sorts of people who are likely to complain about the unfinished nature of a game that is in development. The world’s a different place now – it’s not the 1990s or 2000s anymore.

    • UncleLou says:

      I just came in here to post something similar. I find it extremely annoying.

      Those people can still buy their games like they always have, when they’re finished , for a normal price. But you can’t visit a Steam community hub, or an Elite thread, without haveing to wade through the same tiresome old discussion, every single time.

    • Grygus says:

      To be fair, it’s not entirely entitlement. You’re doing the developer a service by giving them free data on their game as a beta player. It doesn’t make sense that you would have to pay for that; indeed you should be compensated! I’m not against expensive tiers for fans who want to donate money, and I’m not against those donors getting something a little extra on the side. But charging me to help you raises legitimate questions.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        It is entitlement when it seems that no matter what the system people will complain. I’m absolutely sick of this “must play it now” culture that gamers seem to have adopted. WAIT for the fucking finished game, you are ruining games by your childish obsession with getting things as soon as you can.

        There are good games that have released with nobody playing because people could not wait and had to play a half finished version of the game, didn’t get the full benefit from it because it was half a game, then started bitching it was bad. It has the potential to leave games at a worse state at release. The only other way to do it is limited free beta testing where a certain number of people are invited. The downsides to that, one of course people bitching that they don’t get in and “I want it now, wah wah wah”. The other being that the people you invite might again just be wanting to play early and wont help you test the game.

        At least people dropping above full price are likely to be invested in the game and will spend time to help the developers, rather than just play the game early. It’s the best Early Access system I’ve seen, mostly because all the others suck and are, in my opinion, ruining gaming at the moment.

        I agree with your point in theory but the fact is when a game goes into open beta, a tiny percentage of the playerbase is actually there to help test the game. The overwhelming majority just want to play this flashy new game RIGHT NOW, this attitude can definitely be harmful to the game in the long term.

  7. Commander Gun says:

    Two questions, both from someone not rly initiated in these kind of games but very interested:

    1. What is the difference between Star Citizen and Elite? Both seem a bit alike.

    2. Is this game even remotely playable with mouse + keyboard, or is a gamepad (or stick) necessary?

    • BobbyDylan says:

      A1) There’re very similar but there are differences. The biggest one being SC is coming out in 2016, and Elite will be out by the end of the year.

      A2) You can, but generally a joystick is waaay better. It’s so much more fun with a joystick. Just like you could use the earphones that came with your phone to listen to the game, proper 7.1 surround with heavy base will rock your world.
      The advantages of a mouse is in the fine aiming. The advantages of a Joystick is in the handing of the ship, and turning.

      • Commander Gun says:

        Ok, tx for answering :)

      • Wildeheart says:

        “proper 7.1 surround with heavy base will rock your world”. – Well it’d probably leave some fairly hefty dents in my carpet that’s for sure. Why would the base be so heavy though? Do they fill the case with bricks or something?

    • Love Albatross says:

      Elite has a much bigger scope in terms of the sheer size of the game. They’re simulating the entire galaxy (approx. 400bn stars), with a heavy dose of realism in terms of astronomical bodies, orbits, physics and all that epic space shit that gives Neil DeGrasse Tyson a boner. Exploration is a big thing: areas outside of the populated zones are unknown so you’ll be able to make money by selling exploration data, and this information will then be made available to every other player, so pioneering explorers get to see stuff no one else has and be able to name planets. Promised expansion packs will add ship boarding, EVA, walking around on stations, multiplayer crewed ships and planetary landings (the entire planet not just a selected area).

      Star Citizen offers the same trade/explore/fight choices but the combat has a different feel and the ships feature a slightly more granular level of detail than Elite at present which means you can take out individual thrusters to screw with their handling. It’s smaller in size (around 100 systems at launch I think) but they’re promising a ‘persistent universe’ feature that will allow for player owned stations, cap ships and planetary combat areas. Capital ships with multiplayer crews are also planned (player controlled caps in Elite are vague ‘maybe’ right now).

      If you have a poster of Carl Sagan on your bedroom wall, Elite is where you wanna be, but if you enjoyed stuff like Wing Commander, TIE Fighter and Freelancer then Star Citizen is probably more your bag.

      • wu wei says:

        epic space shit that gives Neil DeGrasse Tyson a boner

        That really needs to be the subtitle for season 2 of Cosmos.

    • Lemming says:

      Elite: Dangerous =being left in a sandbox with a few tools and toys.

      Star Citizen = being given an expensive lego set by a helicopter parent.*

      *technically being promised a lego set at the moment.

    • Tutamun says:

      1.) Differences between ED and SC.

      Single Player / campaign:
      SC has a single player campaign “Squadron 42”. Some of the missions you can play in co-op with friends.
      I don’t know if ED will have anything similar… my interest lies in the online part.
      You can play ED in single player online mode and benefit from the changing galaxy without seeing any other players. Or you can play online with only your friends around as humans. Not sure if SC will allow you to do this.
      I’ll try to play both in fully online mode and hope that I won’t meet too many jerks who shoot you just because they can.

      The ship styles are different. You can like or hate them.
      ED looks great and has fairly low system requirements.
      SC looks better but you’ll also need a better computer to run it.
      (At least the currently unoptimized SC hangar brings my computer to it’s knees. Mainly because of my old graphics card. I can still fly in Arena Commander. ED runs perfectly fine on my computer.)

      Number of Star Systems:
      SC has roughly 100+ hand crafted systems. ED will have hand crafted content… but most will be procedural generated. This allows ED to have 400 billion star systems.
      The number of star systems is probably irrelevant as long as you have enough fun stuff to do.

      Both will procedurally generate mission and have hand crafted missions.

      Distances in Star Systems:
      ED goes for more realism in the scale of everything. The distances between star system or stars and planets will be as in the real world. To cover those huge distances you have to be able to fly multiple times the speed of light (e.g. 2000c). Traveling from star system to star system is done with a hyper drive.
      Light takes 8 minutes from Sun to Earth. And at least 33 minutes from Earth to Jupiter. With below light speed travel you would get no where. In previous elite games they used to fast forward time while you traveled but this is not possible in a multi player game.
      SC has a different approach. You can travel at a maximum of 0.2c. The star systems will be much smaller to allow you to travel anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. Traveling between star systems will be through worm hole type anomalies.

      Flight Model:
      ED went for a more plane like model which is more fun or at least more in the comfort zone of people used to how planes fly. ;)
      In ED you can use yaw only for fine adjustments (e.g. aiming). Flying is thus mostly roll and pitch.
      In SC you can yaw freely so flying is more like ‘in a shooter’ where you yaw and pitch.
      Flying feels totally different in the two games. Currently ED flight model feels better in my opinion. My main complaint with SC currently is that there is not enough (bright) space dust to give you the feeling of direction. But the developers are aware of this. Sound probably also plays a part in the perception of the flight model. It’s probably unfair to compare SC to ED in the current state as ED is much further along.

      Both allow you to (partly) disable the flight computer and use all six degrees of freedom. e.g. to fly in one direction but face the ship in a different direction. Or do a circle strafe around an asteroid while facing the asteroid. Or apply upward thrust while flying towards a target to avoid some incoming dame while still dealing damage to the target in front of you. (Currently it’s easier to these things in ED. At least in my opinion.)

      Damage Model:
      In SC they try to simulate thruster placement, strength of thrusters and mass center of the ship… If one of your maneuvering thrusters gets blown off then you feel the difference in the handling of the ship. One of my best moments in SC was when my main thrusters and most of my maneuvering thrusters were destroyed and I was helplessly drifting towards an asteroid only able to turn my ship but not alter my direction.
      In ED you have ship components that can individually be destroyed/disabled. You can target specific components like the cargo hatch.
      I’m not sure if the physical simulation is (or will be) so detailed as it is in SC.

      Both are still in development. ED has shown concept art of detailed damage model on the larger ships.

      Landing on planets / Walking around in ships / exiting ships:
      SC will have this right from the start. ED will add this later on.
      Depending on when SC launches and when ED adds this they could both have this feature at the same time. ;-)

      Guilds / friend list:
      Both games will have friend lists. Both will probably use these in matchmaking (who goes in the same instance that you are in).
      SC will have Guilds (Organizations) with full support in and out of the game.
      I’m not sure where ED is exactly going with guilds. As far as I could gather you would have to organize outside of the game. Every player will be in the “pilot’s federation”. I don’t think there will be player created/run federations.

      2.) There are people playing with mouse and keyboard. There are a ton of options to customize controls, so there should be a mode that you enjoy.
      In my opinion it is much more fun to play with a joystick.
      But either way plan on spending some time to learning the controls.

      • Commander Gun says:

        Wow, great answers guys! Clears a lot of things up tbh. Elite indeed sounds much further in development. I checked out SC some time ago and actually wanted to buy in, but the amount of options (there was not 1 entry, but lots of different ships i apparently had to choose from without understanding the game itself) was a bit flabbergasting. Also, i am the type of player who likes ‘realism’ (as far as it is possible in a game of this scope) and don’t mind travelling long times and just checking the view.
        I can imagine both games to be absolutely paradise when the occulus rift is more advanced, but that is the stuff of distant futures. I guess i just have to fire on this beta and find out how it plays out :)

        • Tutamun says:

          If you plan on playing with the Oculus Rift currently ED is the safe bet. The last thing I heard from SC was that the game engine (cry engine) still needs some optimization to deliver a smooth OR experience.

          Most important thing to know about SC when browsing the store is that you can earn all the ships in the game by playing.

          Currently you can support the development of SC by purchasing additional ships. As far as we know this won’t be possible after launch.
          Once the game is released you won’t be able to buy in game items but only a limited amount of in game cash per month. This will be optional. There is no subscription necessary, although they might make an optional subscription available because fans are demanding it. (I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether buying in game credits with real money is good or bad. The developers hope that they will earn enough to keep the servers running and develop new content for many years.)

          In ED most people will start with a Sidewinder and 1000cr. On Kickstarter it was possible to get different options when starting a new game (different ship, starting location and number of credits) by pledging for a higher tier. Not sure if this will be made available for those buying ED through the store.
          ED has started to sell paint jobs for real money.

          The cheapest SC game packages (not single ships!) that get you the complete game are:
          – Aurora MR for 30 USD. (No Beta access included. This is a classic preorder.)
          – Aurora MR+ for 40 USD. (This includes Beta access… but be warned that Beta is still some time in the future.)

          You will be able to visit your hangar and walk around your ship* or even sit in your ship – but not fly.
          *) That is if your chosen ship is currently available in the hangar. Otherwise you may receive a replacement ship to look at. The above mentioned game packages include the Aurora MR which is ready for the hangar.

          If you want to do some flying you would need to additionally purchase the Arena Commander pass for 5 USD. This gives you access to the (pre) Alpha Arena Commander module.
          You can currently try some single player dogfighting. Once multiplayer is more stable and opened up to everyone you can also participate there.

          There will be more game modules (e.g. walking on planets) released down the line that you have to purchase separately if you want to participate in the Alpha of that module. If you have no interest in testing the Alpha you can just wait for Beta.

          To sum it up:
          45 USD gets you both games (Star Citizen and Squadron 42), an Aurora MR starting ship, Beta access and the Alpha access to the Arena Commander Module.

          • Wytefang says:

            Thanks for the informative breakdown. Could you explain the confusing (to me, anyway) Insurance thing that SC offers or offered or whatever?

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Hull insurance is the cheapest, applies everywhere, and it only gives you back your ship with the standard loadout ( adding value to specialized variants sold with some upgrades already in ).

            Hull insurance used to be lifetime for the first backers, which means you’ll never have to pay for it, but the differences end there. The price of such insurance is intended to be trivial anyway and you’ll be warned when your insurance needs to be renewed.

            The real money comes from cargo insurance and upgrades insurance, and that is not going to be free for anyone. The problem with such insurance though is that it’s price increases depending on the risk rating of the systems you plan to visit, and it’s void on the highest rated ones.

            link to

            EDIT: There are also some updates on the cargo system. You’ll be able to choose if you prefer to go with unmarked or marked cargo canisters ( which are more costly ), the latter offering some form of trackability and are probably going to play a role with cargo insurance.

            Off course, this also means that stealing unmarked canisters is great for pirates because they won’t show up as stolen, while having only marked ones in your cargo bay might dissuade some ( if they have a scanner and if they’re not just random griefers ).

            You’ll probably be able to hack the marked ones for a price, just like you’ll be able to pay a serious sum to fake the ID of a ship you stolen, and then going for some shady insurance dealear.

          • Tutamun says:

            Insurance in SC:

            Insurance can be bought for ship hulls, cargo and your ship equipment like guns.
            Insurance runs for a certain amount of time. You will have to renew it. There will probably be a reminder if it runs out.

            – You can insure your ship hull.
            Currently when you buy a game package the included ship comes with at least 2 months of already paid hull insurance. So you don’t have to worry about hull insurance right away.

            They said that insurance will not be expensive. It’s something everyone will be able to pay… unless they do not make any credits and just sit around on planets chatting with friends. (There are other regular payments as well, like fuel, landing fees, hangar fees, ammunition, etc. But all this should be no problem if you fly a few missions to earn some credits once in a while.)

            Hull insurance covers loss of your ship hull in any area of the game. Even when you fly into enemy or pirate territory. It does not matter if the ship gets destroyed or if it gets stolen.

            If you loose your ship you will get a replacement in similar condition when you last left a station. (They want to prevent people to use insurance as a way to circumvent repair costs.)

            If you loose your ship too often in a short amount of time the replacement ship may take more and more time until you receive it. (Good if you have a second ship in your hangar.)
            I’m not sure how this replacements work with capital ships. When buying a new one it could take quite some time until it is ‘produced’. Maybe a replacement for a loss will also take longer than normal.

            – You can insure your cargo.
            This covers the loss of your cargo in certain areas of the game. If you want your cargo to be covered in unsafe areas it could be more expensive. It will be impossible to insure cargo in some very dangerous areas.

            – You can insure your weapons and mods to the ship.
            The weapons and mods may be the really expensive part of your ship if you only take the best or overclocked components.
            I’m currently not sure if this insurance works in any area of the game or is restricted like cargo.

            On the topic of life time insurance (LTI):
            Early backers got LTI on their ship hulls and the standard equipment like guns that came in the game package.

            LTI covers exactly the same as the standard hull insurance. Only difference is that you will not have to pay for it every month (or week, or whatever).

            LTI was considered a mistake by the devs, but they will keep their promise to the early backers.
            I’m not sure if it was a mistake. I’m sure it was a good way to get funded. Some people only backed at the level they did because they knew their virtual ship would be protected against loss… e.g. even if they would fly it totally drunk and would have forgotten to pay insurance.

            It is no longer possible to buy a ship with LTI. The only way to get one would be if someone who owns a ship package with LTI gifts it to you.

            There are a limited number of people with ships with LTI. As these ships only come with basic equipment those early backers will still need to pay insurance for better weapons that they fit on the ship or for the cargo they carry… or pay for fuel and landing fees, etc.

            Then the devs have said that they will release newer models of old ships. e.g. if the 2016 model has one more hard point to attach guns then the old 2014 model could end up not being used as much for fighting anymore. And after a few years it’s like an old timer that you only take out of the hangar for special occasions.

            Because of this I do not think that LTI is such a big deal as some want to make it. Only thing is that it always causes heated discussions when the LTI topic is brought up.

          • Tutamun says:

            Just an update:
            SC Arena Commander multiplayer is now open to everyone with Alpha Access or an Arena Commander Pass.

  8. Simon_Scott says:

    Is it £50 though? I’ve pre-ordered the game, and if you’re committed to buying it, as most people interested in the early access presumably are, then really this amounts to buying early access for £15. It’s not something I’m going to go for, but it’s not quite “buying an unfinished game for £50”.

  9. Zaxwerks says:

    I am soooo stoked about this game and totally gobsmacked with the amazing work of the Frontier team both in graphics and soundscape.

    My real excitement however is more over what this game could be destined to be, rather than what it is now. The buy low, trade high, dogfights are the staples of what Elite was, but such things are now staple in games like the X series or Darkstar One for example. Even if Elite’s implementation is visually awe inspiring (and it SO is) when it’s the only activity in a galaxy with a million stars things can get “grindy”.

    My real excitement is with the future prospect of planetary landing and ship boarding. If this can be incorporated into a good procedurally generated mission model that feels dynamic and not arbitrary then it would be my Nirvana game. I love the idea of boarding and stealing ships, what about the ability to disable ships and board for assassination missions, or stealing plans for upgrades, or the ability to cannibalize a ship to take systems onto your ship, or boobytrap a captured ship to lure in and kill other looters and capture THEIR ships, or program a rudimentary AI in a captured ship to fight along side you or to kamakarzi into an enemy ship. How about a more involved mining mechanic involving scanning and prospecting. How about a “home” system with planets you can terraform to fulfill various functions, where automated bots could mine or farm or construct goods to sell in the local market giving you a regular income… oh the possibilities…

  10. the_aborted says:

    I have no problem coughing money up for Elite: Dangerous.

    Throughout the entire procedure they have kept us up to date with every bit of development.

    I’m a massive fan of the original game but I didn’t want to touch it until it’s released – I want the perfect first experience.

    If I was so inclined, I’d see no problem with a company that has remained in constant communication with this fan base and audience, and yet, it hasn’t thrown itself down everyones noses with adverts. It’s released a few trailers but we get a vast array of different Vlogs concerning many aspects of the game.

    I’m also glad they are taking their time, the wait is killing me but I’m absolutely positive it’s going to be worth it.

  11. shimeril says:

    I recently bought in to this level of the Beta. I was going to wait until release but a friend was enjoying the alpha so much that I figured I would most likely get enough enjoyment from the single player missions and the beta itself to make the extra outlay worthwhile. Most importantly though, it would give me a few months to figure out how to fly the Cobra. And after playing the solo missions I must say I need the extra practice!

  12. derbefrier says:

    I bought it myself so I could pew pew something between Star Citizen updates. Its a pretty cool little game though I think my personal preference will lie with Star Citizen(I prefer Star Citizens flight model) once it get farther along but from the few hours I have spent with it it seems pretty great. Gonna have to wait till the weekend before I can really dig into it and Star Citizen just released its big multiplayer bug fixing patch sooooo yeah looks like i’ll be amongst the stars all weekend.

  13. shaydeeadi says:

    It’s getting really hard to resist this.

  14. Martel says:

    I feel like we need a post that explains the difference between this and Star Citizen for those of us that confuse the hell out of these 2. And yes, I know I can go research it, but you guys are all great at summarizing :)

    • Tutamun says:

      A few posts above your’s some of us tried to explain a few of the differences between ED and SC.

  15. Hogni Gylfason says:

    I, the wife and some friends would like to play this game, but we have zero interest in worrying about the general populace interfering. Is it possible to play a pure coop or are you forced into the MMO morasse? Freelancer was awesome in this manner, and I’m hoping for a replacement that satisfies.

    I’m been going back and forth in the available info, but am unable to find any concrete info on this….

    • Cockie says:

      I thought the new group system is supposed to work like that but I’m not 100 % sure either (don’t have the game yet)

    • Tutamun says:

      You can form a private group. Then you will only meet people in this private group while playing online… and AI pilots. (AI pirates will also attack you.)

  16. snowgim says:

    Played my first bit of beta last night. Not sure how to make money, I decided to carry 4 grain to the next system over for a small profit. Filled my ship, left the station, immediately got attacked by ‘CMDR Backer’ who obviously wanted my meagre cargo.
    Luckily due to my playing the combat beta I out-flew and killed him. Jumped to my destination, had some trouble with super-cruise but made it to the station, entered the hangar to land, got a warning about not deploying landing gear. Tried to remember key to deploy landing gear, boosted into a wall.

    10/10 would play again.

  17. Xariann says:

    So if I get this game now, will there be enough for me to do to keep engaged? I am not saying “I want the full game even though it’s beta” and I am definitely up for testing (that’s what a beta is for, right?) But I would like to get something out of this money. I am happy to contribute, but I want to enjoy it while doing it, after all that’s why I play games.