Elite: Dangerous Horizons Beta Now Roaming Planets

Beta access opened tonight for the first phase of the planet-roaming Elite: Dangerous [official site] expansion Horizons, which I believe is for folks who pre-ordered.

“Aha! But Alice,” you say, in a snide tone of voice that you know makes people want to twat you in the nose but makes you feel so clever, “I thought you said never to pre-order? I distinctly recall you saying that several times.” Very good, clever clogs, so you get the biggest treat of all: watching Elite head honch David Braben prepare to die of asphyxiation on a lonely moon:

Oh David, you silly egg!

The beta is now live for folks who have access. Horizons is due to properly launch this holiday season, which I assume means some time before Christmas. Go have a peek at the patch notes to see more about all it brings.

Planetary landing and exploring is only the first part of Horizons, mind. It’ll also bring multi-crew ships, a character creator to give yourself a face, and… some other stuff. More things. An “all-new game-changing loot and crafting system,” say makers Frontier Developments. Other things too.

Frontier are selling Horizons in a weird way. It is an expansion (or some kind of DLC season pass), but is sold as a standalone – the base game plus all the Horizons stuff. £49.99 is how much the whole shebang will run you. They do at least offer a £10 discount to existing Elitists but it’s a bit weird. But hey, Elite’s only £10 on Steam and from Frontier right now on sale.

Anyway, here’s a pair of recent videos from Braben showing going from orbiting around Europa, a moon of Jupiter, to landing and going for a nice little drive. Will you be hopping in, space cowboys?

75 Comments

  1. Gilead says:

    My plan is to buy Elite: Dangerous now for £10, and then wait a year and buy Horizons for £10 when it’s about to become obsolete.

    I miss out on the water cooler conversation, but it means I don’t spend £40 on an expansion pack.

    • Rizlar says:

      Yep. Also they will be continuing to update both the base game and the expansion throughout it’s life so you will get a lot more a year down the line than playing on release.

      • aepervius says:

        Is it any guarantee ? Remember they went the server only road.It could very well be that once they sold both, after a year or two they either decide to close it or simply do not have the money anymore. So at some point the game will not run anymore, even if the hardware could run it.

        • demicanadian says:

          Remember when they kickstarted a game that was supposed to be 100% offline, with no strange drm, so you could play it even 30 years after their company closes?

          • solidsquid says:

            Being fair, it was never 100% offline only. It *was* supposed to be DRM free and the added an offline mode as a stretch goal (which was reached), but it was always going to have an online component

            Other concerns still stand about how long the servers will stay online and how long they’ll support it though. Hopefully someone manages to create a replacement server stack for it and mod to switch where the client connects to when things do fall over (and with online third party hosted servers, it almost always is going to fall over eventually)

          • Fataleer says:

            Yeah.
            They revised it to — when and if we are turning of the servers, we will release serverside code.

        • tomimt says:

          On the long run, I’d say it’s more than likely that there won’t be any major additions to the base game itself after +5 years. But that shouldn’t really effect on if the people owning only the base game wouldn’t be able to play the game.

          Think of WOW for an example. As far I know, the original game still is playble, despite the game has had decade worth of expansions.

          • Leafcutter says:

            EVE also 3rd party servers for over 10 years.

            A good business model and/or Perhaps Frontier has a multi-millionaire within their ranks who will pay for the love of it if/when times are hard. Who knows.

            -LC-

    • Asurmen says:

      But than £40 includes everything so far.

    • hawken.grey says:

      I don’t know. I was such a fanboy of the original games, I ended up being quite disappointed by Elite Dangerous. I do think it’s beautiful looking game and it’s really amazing also when you try it in the Oculus Rift, but overall, I find it pretty lackluster.

      That said, this expansion is a step in the right direction. I do hope they keep building on it, because though I find the existing game quite sparse and lifeless, of course that can be rectified in time.

    • Captain Deadlock says:

      Really, don’t bother.

    • TheSplund says:

      Spot on, especially as it looks like it’s going to be rather underwhelming at present. Until this gets clouds that you can sail through and some ‘green’ I can’t see a reason to be distracted from the much prettier expanses of outer space.

  2. Premium User Badge

    steves says:

    Nice troll with the ‘official site’!

    “Will you be hopping in, space cowboys?”

    I’m more of a space cow with what I’m flying at the moment, but I’ll be giving this a go just as soon as the thing finishes downloading. Sometime next week judging by progress so far…

    If driving the buggies on planets is as much fun as flying the ships then this should be good though.

  3. csocializt says:

    bummed there was zip on life is strange…

  4. rapchee says:

    3,2,1 let’s jam

  5. Sardonic says:

    The spirit of the Mako lives on!

  6. racccoon says:

    What a RIP OFF!

    I’m glad I got my money back from Star Citizen recently, after their two years of bullshit.
    Elite dangerous though, I got no chance of getting money back on this, while they showed they were compassionate in its early days they have turned out to be dirty money RATS.
    Lessons are leanrt by an old motto..
    “Never trust a book by its cover”

    • Chalky says:

      You seem to get very angry about people who charge more money than you would expect for a video game. I agree that the price is a bit on the high side for me, but I don’t think that makes the E:D developers bad. If the price is too high then the market will force them to lower it – if loads of people buy it at this price, more power to them.

      Oh well. Congrats on getting your money out of Star Citizen before their ship completely capsizes though. Never pre-order, especially when the company has built a business model out of over-priced “micro”-transactions.

      • macc says:

        I know it’s the popular thing to say on RPS that Star Citizen will fail, but I had some acces to the Alpha 2.0 and it’s pretty awesome.

        • Cinek says:

          Same here. So far I had more fun with it than I ever did with Elite: Dangerous. Plus: It feels like there’s an actual depth in combat, something what I always missed in Elite.

        • K_Sezegedin says:

          Yeah not really sure what people are on about with Star Citizen, game’s been in development for 3 years (oh god so long it must be vaporware) and you’d have to be really closed minded not to be impressed with alpha 2.

      • Papasteak says:

        What do you mean “before it capsizes?” They released PTU 2.0 and it’s only a matter of days/weeks until it’s released to the public.

        All you Derek Smart nut huggers need to get off already.

    • captainparty says:

      Hey now, slow your roll a little here mate, it’s just computer games, £50 is a lot but hey, these are big games in a niche genre, its going to be pricey,

      And you backed Star Citizen, you must have known it was a risk, surely? That’s why I didn’t (and haven’t yet) given them my money, I’m not sure enough that I want the game to risk my money on it!

    • Asurmen says:

      You seem upset they’re charging for a product they said they would do before the game was even released IIRC.

    • Cinek says:

      I tried to get the money back after this whole debacle where they removed proper singleplayer mode as well as a DRM-free version from the features list. They told me to f*** off because I already played the game.

      Ridiculous – not only I test the game for them for free, but also get punished for that.

      I know was (still is?) discounted down to £10 now, but IMHO it’s not worth even that. It’s still shallow game with enormous galaxy full of worlds and equally enormous time-wasters, there’s arguably one highlight – combat – but even that is shallow in comparison to other games (eg. Star Citizen Alpha 2). Overall it’s like… a less-interesting version of the Euro Truck Simulator 2.

    • Papasteak says:

      Aww cry some more. It’s your fault for not getting your money back as you should have read and therefore known what you were spending your money on.

      And RSI was nice enough to give you your money back, and well, thank god they did. That’s just one less tool in game.

  7. Hedgeclipper says:

    Is the moon buggy?

  8. Sinjun says:

    I’d rather just play the Mako levels in Mass Effect 1, thanks.

  9. metric day says:

    It’s really a lot of fun and the VR improvements on the galaxy map help. Frontier are doing a superb job and this pounds the “Mako levels in Mass Effect 1” into very fine dust, snorts it and trashes the place.

    • rabbit says:

      “this pounds the “Mako levels in Mass Effect 1″ into very fine dust”

      being fair though, that really is a pretty shit accolade

      • metric day says:

        Agreed.

      • Belsameth says:

        I actually rather liked the Mako levels. Especially in comparison to what it was replaced with…
        tho that isn’t saying much either. Planetary scanning was The Worst Game Mechanic Ever(tm).

  10. Minglefingler says:

    I’m really looking forward to this, Elite’s my most played game this year despite my issues with it. One thing though is that the beta isn’t available to anyone that pre-orders, you need to pay an extra tenner to get access unless you have a lifetime pass.

  11. geldonyetich says:

    I’m confused about what driving around in buggies is supposed to bring to this immersive massive (optionally multiplayer) space trading and bounty hunting simulator.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Attacking and defending outposts, Finding crashed ships, rescuing downed pilots, mining, crafting new weapons / ammo / repair parts, and of course, canyon races.

    • Captain Deadlock says:

      Flies 500t spaceship bristling with weapon turrets to a moonbase. Defends it with a beach kart.

    • captainparty says:

      If I was a spaceship captain, I’d just want to land on planets and drive about in my moon buggy. So it fits my needs!

  12. Ufofighter says:

    So… is there actually something to do in the surface or is it, like everything else in this game, an oversimplified and repetitive mechanic just to say “look! we delivered what we promised! (and if you don’t like it, well… it’s probably your fault)?

    • sf says:

      There’s plenty to do on the surfaces thanks, just like there is plenty to do in the rest of the game. If you don’t like it, play something else. Sad how people like you can’t accept that other people find enjoyment in a game they don’t.
      You’re exactly the type of person the writer of the article describes in their second paragraph.

      • metric day says:

        It’s almost depressing. These guys are doing such excellent work to serve a niche audience, are very good about meeting deadlines, vastly improved their communication… and you still get this ridiculous sneering. Over A LOVELY GAME. Seriously, it’s beautiful. A stunning achievement, Braben is such a steady hand at the wheel and knows not to bite off more than he can chew.

        • Morcane says:

          It’s best to just ignore them. They often make it easy to ignore them, since they bring up arguments like ‘repetitive mechanics’, like the repetition present in *every* game after a while.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            In unnecessary fairness, when people complain about repetitiveness in games, it’s perceived repetitiveness, as as you say, all games are based on repeated activity – some just mask it more effectively than others.

        • rabbit says:

          mmmmh, i think the point he(?) was making was fair enough. okay it coulda been made better but the question is valid, the content in this game is by and large very shallow to this day.

        • Rindan says:

          Elite riles people up because anyone who plays it and hates it, hates it double for having so much potential. There are lots of games I have bounced off of and thought nothing of it. You pick a game up, it sucks, you move on. Elite isn’t like that. The look, the feel, the atmosphere, the flight model; it is all fucking GLORIOUS. It is top fucking notch. Nothing even comes close.

          They have this fucking masterpiece sitting in their hands and what do they do with it? Make a procedurally generated piece of shit (IMO, of course, some deranged people love it) that makes Eurotrucker look thrilling. It would be like if a scientist developed anti-gravity and used it make a floating beer coasters instead of fucking space ships.

          I would murder puppies to see Elite get an Eve like economic back end with player corporations, player owned stations, and area control fights corporate owned systems. I would drowned kittens to see Elite made into a proper single player game with a story and interesting Freespace or Tie Fighter quality missions. I would fuck a goat to see Elite condensed down into a handful of systems and be a Planetside 2 like continuous team PvP war fought through asteroid fields, escorting mining/trade ships, and fighting around space stations. If they made the game play revolve around anything, literally anything other than the procedurally generated nothing that they picked, I would love this game. God, I am getting upset just thinking of the squandered beauty of this fucking game.

          I can’t even begin to describe how badly my loins ache to sit in an asteroid field with my mates with our ships all powered down and silent, watching with our eyes because our sensors are quiet for the movement the signifies the mining ship and its escorts that we are waiting to ambush has arrived. But fucking no. Best case scenario; I go shoot up mindless NPCs at a resource extraction site or nav node for hours. FUCK!

          Take it as a compliment. People despise your beloved game because it is so damn good in so many ways, and yet, a complete and total piece of procedurally generated dog shit. The “expansion” is just adding add another functionally infinite turd field of cat shit, as if there was not already vastly more than enough procedurally generated shit already.

          …all that said, Elite is certainly going to be the first thing I use my Oculus Rift / Vive / whatever on.

      • hotmaildidntwork says:

        Is no one else going to point out how obviously this isn’t exactly the type of person the writer of the article describes in their second paragraph?
        I mean one is asking whether the expansion depth is comparable to the original, the other is calling you out for having pre-ordered a game after going on a rant about how foolish it is to pre-order games.

      • Ufofighter says:

        The amount of attention you guys have put to a simple comment is hilarious, thanks.

        PD: If you don’t like different opinions, well… deal with it.

  13. Captain Deadlock says:

    Just remember the Frontier fanboy mantra, guys – if you don’t enjoy the game, there’s something wrong with YOU.

    • metric day says:

      Not really. It’s a niche game and it’s perfectly ok not to be in that niche.

    • orangiey says:

      I can see anyone here saying there is something wrong with you if you don’t like Elite: Dangerous.

      I DO like the game but I realize that it is not for everyone (this is not due to any flaw in that person) – if you don’t like it then don’t play it just play a game you do enjoy

      I am looking forward to Horizons – hopefully I will be able to download the beta this evening when I get home.

      • orangiey says:

        OOOPS!

        No edit button.

        I wanted to say:

        I can’t see anyone here…

  14. Max says:

    I’ve just bought Elite, my current skill level consists of spinning around unable to hit a still target.

    But anyway, the expansion – I don’t understand why anyone would spend £40 on it? Am I missing something? The planets are empty..

    • FieldyGB says:

      maybe turn flight assist off?

    • teppic says:

      The planetary thing is just the first part of the expansion. There are loads of updates going in over the next year.

      If you don’t get the expansion you still play in the same universe as those that do, so there’s no need to buy it now if you don’t want to.

    • Cinek says:

      I could ask you the same bout spending £10 on Elite – why buy it? Galaxy is empty. That’s the biggest problem this game has and noone at frontier seems to recognize it nor have any will to improve the situation.

      Elite is an ocean mile wide, inch deep. With this expansion they added some more to the width, but this new area is still an inch deep.

      • Asurmen says:

        You haven’t played it. How do you know?

        • Synesthesia says:

          Well, I have played it. The galaxy is empty. Missions are nothing but fetch quests. Where do we go from here? Do I have to roleplay it to get it? I don’t get it at all maybe?

          • Zenicetus says:

            Roleplaying it helps a lot. Getting into the multiplayer cooperative/antagonistic side of the game probably helps too, because interaction with other players = “content” in the game.

            My problem with Elite:D is that I can happily roleplay the space pilot thing, but I have zero interest in multiplayer. And there just isn’t a lot of compelling content on the singleplayer side.

        • Cinek says:

          What? I did play it. Read my comments, or something?

  15. Arithon says:

    Horizons is pretty impressive.
    Read my first impressions here: link to elite-dangerous-blog.co.uk

  16. Thurgret says:

    Rather underwhelmed so far. I’ve access due to the lifetime pass. It certainly isn’t a full-priced game worth of new material.

    • Jediben says:

      Life time pass here too. Agreed, surface of planetoids has no tangible improvement to game play and shoddy controls. I am sticking to space.

  17. teppic says:

    I got my HOTAS delivered today (was down to £29 on an Amazon sale). It’s going to take some getting used to. Trying to launch was like some comedy, hitting everything and eventually sort of managing to get out of the station.

  18. MJones says:

    As long as it looks good on Twitch and YouTube and you can pay £50 to grow your subscribers with new eye candy, who cares if there’s any actual game underneath it, eh?

    On a less cynical note – I hope Frontier will carry on their tradition of releasing a new vaguely interactive screensaver every year in just time for christmas.

  19. Rednecksith says:

    Just picked up Elite. I hope it’s good and controls well with a keyboard / mouse. I’ve heard people who hate mouse control, and those who say it works great, so we’ll see.

    At this rate though, they’ll have everything Star Citizen is boasting about (except actually, you know, WORKING) long before SC releases. Of course, that’s assuming SC does release. Me, I think Chris Roberts is filled with more hot air than half of Washington, but I do hope for those who bought into it that the game is every bit as good as it sounds on paper.

    • komakala says:

      It works fine with keyboard/mouse. It just takes a bit to get used to, just like getting used to using a HOTAS. I tried switching to a HOTAS but it didn’t fit on my desk very well so I went back to mouse and keyboard.

  20. teppic says:

    I don’t know why people are saying that this isn’t enough of a game. That’s so subjective. This has mixed traditional MMO elements mixed in with a pretty advanced flight simulator in a huge universe to explore/fight in/whatever. That’s obviously going to be a great game for some people and worth every penny, or boring as hell to others.

  21. Contrafibularity says:

    So will players who already own the game just not be able to fly in close proximity and/or land on planetary bases? Or is it just that existing players have to pay another 60€ for a moonbuggy? And what about multi-crew ships and character creation?

    Because none of this makes me want to buy this “expansion” or even return to the game for the foreseeable future, if Frontier is this dead set on screwing people over, and if we’re meant to buy the game all over again every year and with every added feature no matter how small it is, and that should’ve been in the launch game to begin with.

    • Zenicetus says:

      As I understand it, it follows the usual MMO model of just locking you out of the new features if you don’t buy the expansion. Everything else in the game remains as usual. If the new features aren’t appealing, then just don’t buy the expansion.

      I don’t agree that these features should have been in the game to begin with. Landing on planets was always mentioned as coming later on, as paid DLC. Frontier delivered what they promised in the base game… more or less… and ignoring the whole offline thing.

      For me, Elite:D is still a terrific cockpit simulation for the first few days, and then the content devolves into a MMO-centric grind that I don’t find all that compelling. I’m still keeping an eye on it, because at some point they might decide to develop more content that would appeal to singleplayer-focused people like me.