Elite Dangerous: Horizons Expansions Start Next Week

I always feel I’m making a mistake writing about Elite Dangerous: Horizons [official site]. I get that the expansion is actually a series of mini-expansions, and that the first will add planets to roam around on. It’s when I reach the point in the post to explain that Horizons is being sold not as an expansion or season pass but only as a new base edition of the game with plain old E:D included that I think “Wait, that doesn’t sound right.” It is though. I think. I have checked. It just seems wrong. Anyway, point is: it’ll all start next Tuesday, December 15th.

That’s when Planetary Landings will arrive. The planetbits are well-known, as makers Frontier Developers have shown them off plenty and spacefolks who pre-ordered Horizons have been pootling around a beta for a few days, so what else will follow in the future? Frontier explain:

“Following Planetary Landings, additional updates will come online in 2016, including: Loot and Crafting, unlocking a world of customization options and adding new value and meaning to every action.
Multicrew, allowing teams of players to assume roles aboard the same ship.
Commander Creation, giving a unique appearance to players’ in-game avatars.
Ship-Launched Fighters, allowing larger spacecraft to carry their own short-range fighter ships for attack and defense.
New Missions and Ships, expanding the already massive amount of playable content.
New Close Quarter Combat (CQC) Arenas, providing additional challenges to prove multiplayer superiority”

Elite Dangerous: Horizons will cost £39.99, though folks who own the original game are offered a £10 discount “for a limited time”. I suppose this is one way to ensure that all new players have the full Elite experience, but it’s still a bit weird – the Street Fighter model in an MMO. Anyway! Have a trailer:

I’ve checked around the RPS treehouse that I don’t have the wrong end of the stick with pricing. Twice.

130 Comments

  1. metric day says:

    There’s nothing “a bit weird” about it, its a small price to pay per year for continued expansion of one of the most amusingly chaotic AND boring games on the market, a pure joy in VR. You can always play the base game and forego the expansions and still get some free updates if it’s “a bit weird.” Or you can support a great company that manages to deliver without getting swallowed up by showbiz glitz and mocap dreams…

    • Procrastination Giant says:

      Are they a great company, though? Maybe i’m just way too much of a jaded old cynic, but the fact that they essentially promissed a single player game with an optional multiplayer component when they kickstarted it just to completely scrap offline play about a month before release (i believe) still seems like an incredibly fishy thing to do.

      The fact that the reasons they’ve given for this are essentially either complete bullshit of EA/Maxis proportions (all the complex systems in the game wouldn’t work in singleplayer… yeah, right…) or a sign of incredibly poor planning and project management (“we couldn’t get the single player mode working”) really doesn’t help either.

      That’s not the kind of basis on which i want to pay 50€ for an expansion that esesentially contains one single feature and a bunch of hypothetical, unannounced features down the line – Especially if you consider how undercooked and placeholder-y pretty much all the features in the current game are.

      • Janichsan says:

        Maybe i’m just way too much of a jaded old cynic, but the fact that they essentially promissed a single player game with an optional multiplayer component when they kickstarted it just to completely scrap offline play about a month before release (i believe) still seems like an incredibly fishy thing to do.

        Let’s at least get the facts straight: the game originally was pitched as multiplayer only game. They only added the offline mode after the campaign already was going for a couple of weeks.

        …poor planning and project management (“we couldn’t get the single player mode working”)

        That’s not what they said: they could have made an offline version, but it would have been very different from the game experience they wanted to make. Not necessarily a better excuse, I’d concur.

        …an expansion that esesentially contains one single feature…

        That’s probably the understatement of the century. Just the fact of being able to land on the majority of planets increases the size of the game world immensely. Plus, most of the other features aren’t hypothetical or unannounced: they already revealed months ago that the expansion will also bring multi-(player-)crew ships, a character avatar creator, ship launched fighters, a loot and craft system, plus a bunch of improvements and additions to the already implemented features.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Right, but all of those other features that aren’t in the expansion yet, will cost current game owners more if you don’t buy right now “on spec” without even seeing if they’re worthwhile.

          It’s getting very close to Star Citizen-level marketing.

          • TheOx129 says:

            I think it’s a bit harsh on Frontier to say they’re engaging in Star Citizen levels of marketing. I mean, last I checked, they’re not selling JPEGs future ships for thousands of dollars.

          • Zenicetus says:

            Well, I said they were getting close to SC level marketing, not that they were there yet. :)

          • derbefrier says:

            say what you will about digital ships, but but with Star Citizen you get an actual MMO space game( not some pseudo MMO like Elite), all updates are free ( no glorified $60 season pass, like elite) plus an entirely separate AAA quality single player game….all for 45 bucks.

          • TheOx129 says:

            Well, that’s also based on the assumption that the game actually comes out and coalesces into a coherent whole rather than being an overambitious and buggy mess. Frankly, I’m not holding my breath, particularly given Roberts’s history of management (he seems like he needs to be restricted to a consultative role due to his incessant micromanagement, as MS discovered with Freelancer); the fact that there are legions of zealous fans who continue to throw money at the project and encourage “all the time needed” makes me even more leery.

            On that note, I can’t help but feel a backlash is going to happen regardless of what state the game is released in. People are projecting a lot of their video game fantasies onto SC, and there’s simply no way all of them are going to walk away satisfied, particularly if they’ve forked over thousands of dollars.

            As for the SP campaign, well…let’s just say the idea of “fall of Space Rome” as written by Chris Roberts and Kevin Droney (screenwriter for such memorable films as Wing Commander and Mortal Kombat) does not sound all that appealing to me. I’m having visions of overwrought pulp that that takes itself way too seriously and is merely a way for Roberts to indulge in his Hollywood fantasies.

          • derbefrier says:

            I think its time to stop pretending that SC might not happen as the go to defense for elite’s choices. We have seen some great progress, I have been on the PTU playing 2.0 and its been great. I can say with confidence at its worst Star Citizen will be just as good as elite. you can harp on Robert’s past all you want but the proof is in the pudding. the game actually coming out is no longer a question but a forgone conclusion. I played on the PTU server last night for 3 hours. dogfighting, exploring, manning crew stations in multicrew ships, EVAing and exploring abandoned space docks, trying my luck going high speeds in the asteroid belt around Yana. The game is real lets quit acting like its vaporware.

        • Procrastination Giant says:

          Right, should have double-checked whether it was included in the kickstarter campaign from the start or just added very early on – Apologies. In some ways that timeline is potentially even more despicable since it basically means that they saw an opportunity for more funding and capitalized on that without being absolutely sure that they can deliver – A “great” company would have stuck to their guns and would have listed it as a potential feature.

          When it comes to the “That’s not what they said:” portion: Yep, i paraphrased in a somewhat hyperbolic way, but at least some of the excuses they used can be read that way. See, my main problem here isn’t that they had one good or one bad excuse for suddenly scraping the single player mode so close to the actual release, it’s that they used a multitude of completely different excuses, ranging from “our galaxy system is too complex to be offloaded to the client”, to “single player doesn’t support our dynamic vision” and finally to the somewhat more honest answer “…the current game would feel too empty in single player” at the very end.

          And yes, there are a bunch of announced features that are only semi-hypothetical, but it’s simply impossible to tell just how substantial those will turn out to be, whether things like crafting will have actual depth or if it’ll turn out to be yet another useless proto-currency like mined minerals for example.

          Right now it’s also impossible to tell just how much of the coming features and improvements will trickle down – whether old features recieve more depth down the line even if you just own the basegame or just hook into features from the next season and the ones after that. It’s also impossible to tell how all of this will stack and cascade… Whether having Horizons will be enough to skinny dip on oceanic worlds or if you also need “Outer Rim” to actually do any naked extravehicular-summer-time-activities once Season 3 starts, etc. etc.

          Long story short: I simply don’t know what to make of Frontier and don’t really understand some of the blind faith surrounding their overall developement cycle.

      • Arithon says:

        Frontier announced Horizons in August and three months later we’re playing the Beta with the release a week away.
        The coming features in the “season” will add to both the core game and the expansion. Several of these additions have already been demonstrated, such as player avatar creator. For an insight into how much detail goes into the game content, watch the video here on planet creation. link to youtu.be Tectonic plates, volcanism, chemical composition etc.
        The 1.5 “Ships” update to the core game is released on the same day as Horizons, including new content, new missions & mission types and five new ships, plus an extra one for CQC.

    • Titler says:

      My user name comes from my autistic brother mispronouncing “Elite”, telling me I was getting “Titler” for Xmas one year instead… and I’ve loved the game since the late 80s; but the idea that this love allows Frontier to get away with the poor customer service they show NOW, as well as a massively inflated pricing structure, and that people online think just because they’ve been given the illusion of being part of the “Crowdsourcing” means they need to defend Frontier like they were part of their family just leaves me sickened…

      Let’s be quite honest here; Frontier has added virtually nothing to the base game since it went live a year ago. Wings, the ability to join with friends should have been in at launch, and when it did go in was buggy and often didn’t work, refusing to put your wing in the same instance thus ruining it’s own reason to exist. And there wasn’t anything to do together anyway; if you did the same old missions yet again, the reward was divided between all of you so you actually lost out by doing so.
      Powerplay is just the same old missions reapplied to territory control; and remains as dull and boring as the content it mirrors, but doesn’t involve the same rewards either, unless you dedicated a life-draining amount of grinding time to it.
      The only dramatic improvement, Close Quarters Combat, is an arena shooter with re-used space station assets and is disconnected from the main game. Fun, for a little while, but added YET ANOTHER ELITE GRIND on top, and is now completely dead. A shout out to Commander Rhetoric though, who when I tried it, spent my 3 hours in CQC as a Level 40-something completely owning all us newbies, who all then left the mode and didn’t go back.

      And that, apart from maybe mining drones is the only actual new content. No wait, I tell a lie. There’s also very quick, flat, boring looking paint jobs in the store for £10 a shot sometimes. And absolutely no painting options for your hull in game AT ALL.

      So, on the basis of the completely hollow game E : D still is after a year, I’m expected to pay nearly the full cost of the full game AGAIN, on the back of promises I have no faith Frontier are capable of actually implementing; and if I don’t do it RIGHT NOW, I’ll end up paying the actual full price?

      That feels more like emotional abuse and bullying to me. Instead of changing my ways, how about Frontier change theirs and up their game?

      For a start, they could actually keep the price for all the content for new comers with Horizon, and reduce the price down to something reasonable for us, the early backers who made this product possible in the first place. How about instead of a “limited time offer” of £10 off, they ONLY charge £10 for the expansion. Because right now, having watched all the details in beta, that’s all it really seems worth.

      • Oduglingen says:

        I have to correct you on this: “Close Quarters Combat, is an arena shooter with re-used space station assets”. I’d say that it’s actually the opposite, the space stations/structures assets in CQC are only present in CQC and not in the rest of the game.
        Also I feel that I need to say in this sea of negativity that I look forward to my planetary landings. I play the game mostly for the atmosphere and in shorter sessions. It’s relaxing.

        • hollowroom says:

          I would love to play the game to relax, this was one of the things I loved about the original Elite in ’85: the loneliness.

          This is probably why I have no interest in the multiplayer aspect at all.

          My problem is the random disconnects I get going into hyperspace which totally ruin the game for me. It’s so annying that I stopped playing it a while ago. I’ll probably dip back in, but it still remains a big disappointment to me. If they sold a singleplayer, offline version (even cut down) I’d buy it at a shot.

      • Bahska says:

        “that people online think just because they’ve been given the illusion of being part of the “Crowdsourcing” means they need to defend Frontier like they were part of their family just leaves me sickened…”
        I didnt kickstart this game yet ive played way more hours than Fallout 4 and witcher 3 combined and im not bored at all.
        I feel some bought the game thinking it was gonna be a fps and not a space simulator. They have added more in a year than what most space sims have. Maybe these types of games arent for you?

    • Daniel says:

      Dammit, I got so caught up in enjoying the game that I forgot to get outraged. I’ve got half a mind to go play one of the abundant other top shelf space-shooty-flyey-tradey sims in protest.

    • cpy says:

      Most interesting boring space game that is available now. I like how they managed to make Elite the most boring game ever that i still play from time to time. But yeah i’m totally waiting for OR CV to play this just for the VR insanity.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        It’s like a Coen brothers movie. Nothing really happens, but it’s still somehow fascinating.

        • Bahska says:

          Its a space simulator. Kinda a acquired taste. You either enjoy this genre or you dont. Not a lot of middle ground.

        • Darth Grabass says:

          That’s an odd analogy, since Coen Brothers movies are generally known for their frenetic pacing and rapid fire dialogue. The Man Who Wasn’t There being the one notable exception.

      • AmazingPaper says:

        I agree, Elite seem intriguing when I read about it on paper. But it’s pacing, the multiple ‘locks’ on missions and, dare I say, difficulty, is immensely off-putting.

        I am doing something wrong when I play the game, I agree. But after spending close to 20 hours in the game – according to Steam, I have no idea how many ‘actual’ hours I have deposited – I feel like the game has little to offer me.

        Missions – at least when you start – are too few. While I appreciate realism, it almost feels like everything in Elite is made to be time consuming. It took me the better part of an hour to mine an asteroid, for which I had to purchase a mining laser and refinery. I only had enough money for a low-tech refinery, meaning I could only refine one type of ore. While the mining itself doesn’t take long, having to deploy your scoop and scoop up the ore is mind numbingly dull after awhile. It’s time consuming. Luckily there’s a way to automate this proces. But the initial buy-in for all the equipment take far, far too long. Again, missions are too few and their payout is abysmally low. Unless you take it upon yourself to smuggle illegal wares from place to place.

        I since then upgraded my ship, fitted some weapons on there, but it seems that even with my ratings and notoriety – which is the lowest – I still get destroyed by foes that are more agile and their weapons much more capable than mine. Even though I spent close to 200,000 credits on the ship and its equipment.

        Again, on paper Elite seems like the game that is directly tailored to my interests, but it’s execution, however, is lacklustre. In my opinion, anyways.

        Hopefully, Star Citizen can deliver on its promises. I won’t say that SC is better than Elite since I feel both were meant to fill a different kind of audience. I just wish that Elite could capture me. But it can’t.

    • metrojethro says:

      Yeah, I can play the base game and forego the axpansions …
      For the same price that a new player pays to play the game and experience the expansions.

      Sure. Makes sense.

      Congrats Frontier, you not only lost a customer, you created a hater. I won’t support a company that makes a habit of screwing it’s customers. I hope many existing customers follow suit.

  2. Thurgret says:

    Speaking as a lifetime pass holder, it’s a rotten price for current owners of the game to have to pay for a really paltry amount of bland new content. Okay price for people new to the game, though surely most people who were willing to spend full price on Elite: Dangerous have already done so?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Guild Wars 2 pulled the same shit. Not buying that expansion until it’s priced as an expansion.

      I almost bought Elite Dangerous for $15 in the previous Steam sale, because that seemed like a very reasonable price. But then I discovered the expansion thing, which explained it.

      • popej says:

        By for have earns significant ire for the same thing with destiny.

        • popej says:

          Jesus, thanks predictive text. Should have said “Bungie have earnt significant ire”. ;p

      • Thurgret says:

        They at least waited three years to do so. I did buy Prophecies (original Guild Wars), Factions, Nightfall and Eye of the North, but all of those bar the last was a large, standalone game in its own right – and Eye of the North had a bunch of content in it even then. I’m consequently somewhat willing to give them the benefit of the doubt over Heart of Thorns.

        • aircool says:

          That’s a good point. Three years and a lot of content, including all those annual events as well as the living storyline.

          Any current ED ‘added content’ is really the sort of stuff that you’d expect to be in the game to begin with.

      • Mctittles says:

        At least Guild Wars was multiplayer. In Elite you can’t do the missions or anything with friends, you can just sort of hang out. It has multiplayer but anything you do is only really done in single player.

    • Premium User Badge

      DuncUK says:

      Yeah, I regret not buying the expansion pass… it’s madly expensive now and not much of a discount over paying for each separately on release.

      I’m not paying £40 for the new content, I stopped playing ED over 8 months ago after I got fed up with the crappy, broken and cookie cutter in game missions and annoying focus on “community” goals which worked far more like a grinding competition for spacebucks. Outside of those goals, far too much of the game seemed randomly generated in a way that was hugely immersion breaking to the core experience which seemed so well constructed when I first played.

      So far as I can tell they’ve not really fixed any of that since. I don’t expect the expansion do much much better.

  3. Maxheadroom says:

    This is the one time I’m glad I drunkenly forked over a few extra quid for the ‘all future expansions included’ tier.

    • Chaz says:

      Yeah I did the same, and that £35 quid investment which seemed a little mad at the time is now looking like a very shrewd move.

      • Jediben says:

        Same. Realised that this was going to function like WOW and nabbed it as soon as possible. Having spent easily 4 times as much in wow expansions and Subs it was a no brained.

  4. Maxheadroom says:

    Is the Powerplay faction stuff still a thing? Not played in a while but at the time it seemed to somehow be both overly complicated and a whole load of grindy nothingness

  5. aircool says:

    So let me get this straight…

    Someone who doesn’t own ED can get ED including ED: Horizons for £40, whereas someone who already owns ED has to spend £30 to get the ED: Horizons expansion?

    • Phinor says:

      You got it. What irritates me is the fact that this discount is time limited. It feels like a bit like extortion, buy now or lose the discount forever – oh and thanks for supporting us year one. Of course other games have done this too but somehow it doesn’t feel right with Elite. Maybe it’s the high price point and the fact that the discount isn’t big enough to make it a no-brainer.

      Well in any case, I’m not planning to pre-order the expansion and I certainly won’t pay full price again later on when others get in for half the price. Since it’s season pass type deal, I suppose the next time we get a good deal on it is around a year from now, just before the next new thing happens with Elite and by that time, this current expansion is old news so why bother.. did they just permanently kick me out of their game?!

  6. Asurmen says:

    Not really sure it’s been in beta long enough. Seems weird.

  7. Sobric says:

    So I picked up Elite Dangerous in the Steam sales a few weeks back but I’ve yet to play (waiting on a new graphics card).

    How does Horizons fit into Dangerous? Is it a completely separate game? If I fork out £40 now for Horizons does everything else listed above (multi-crew, commander creator etc.) come with it or will those be £40 extensions too?

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      Everything listed will come with it, and be released over the course of the next year. Of course, the following year there will be a new set of stuff for 40 quid.

      • metrojethro says:

        Right. Because software in development is always released on the stated release date.

  8. aircool says:

    I’ve had a look at the webpage and yes… it’s a fucking rip off for current owners.

    If you’d paid full price for ED it would have cost £40 and Horizons will cost you £30. That’s £70 in total.

    New players who just wait until the 15th just pay £40 for the whole lot.

    Most software companies that I can think of from the top of my head that run this model have a grace period where you can upgrade for free, or for some paltry price that’s about 5-10% of the full product (I’m talking stuff that usually costs several hundred £’s).

    Still, it feels like a kick in the knackers… the sort of thing you’d expect from EA or Ubisoft.

    • aircool says:

      If it cost £10, then I’d be ok I guess…

      • aircool says:

        But a grace period for a free upgrade would have been nice.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s also insulting that the small discount for existing owners of the game is for a limited time only. WTF? They’re maintaining a database of people who bought the original game (at least on the direct purchase side), so why can’t the discount be permanent for the expansion?

      Well, it may be irrelevant for me anyway, since they don’t seem interested in attracting players who want more singleplayer content with this expansion. Oh yes, that might come later… “new ships and missions”… great, and then I’ll have to pay more for it than if I buy in now, with content that isn’t that appealing?

      Great marketing, guys.

      • aircool says:

        Yep, £10 off is really insulting. At first glance I thought it was an offer to upgrade for £10 which I thought a bit cheeky, but grudgingly acceptable.

        The more I think about it, the more it annoys me that I’d have to pay £30 for something I should already own. I imagine that it will be the same story next year…

    • Hexcaliber says:

      It is not a rip off at all, the developers were clear right back during the kickstarter that this game would have yearly paid updates. If Customers did not research what they were buying more fool them. Content does not appear out of thin air, and pixies do not pay for servers, the funds for that have to come from somewhere. Many Mmo’s have a monthly sub AND charge for addon’s, or free to play mmos that shove microtrans down your throat at every opportunity.

      Players are free to stop buying yearly updates whenever they like and continue playing the main game, or pick and chose the updates that appeal to them, there will be several more. The main game will continue to receive support and updates through the lifetime of of the project and beyond. If frontier have failed anywhere it is in not letting folks know exactly what is planned for the next 12 months of updates so players can make a more informed choice.

      The developers plan to upgrade the game over several years, during which they plan to add everything from FPS combat, walking on stations, ship boarding combat, multiplayer ships, landing on every planet in the galaxy, walking around and exploring worlds with atmosphere, ship crews with ai crew filling different roles with variable levels of skill, ai wingmen. Persistent and semi persistent ai characters that can be interacted with involved in the underlying storyline, additional levels of grouping and player organisation, randomised evolving mission arcs, Cosmetic ship modifications, craftable and modifiable weapons and ship components, additional professions such as salvaging and passenger transport, injected real time events for players to take part in either locally or galaxy wide. Basically every system and mechanic included in the first three elite games and then some.

      • aircool says:

        The rip off is the price that current players have to pay compared to new players buying Horizons.

        It’s not an expansion, it’s a new game. £10 would be acceptable for current players; £30 is a rip-off.

    • james___uk says:

      Frikkin spot on, I’m geniunely pissed at taking a kick in the nads for helping support them early on, if I’d known I’d never support such a company, what a wank move! The email reply I got was ‘Hey other companies do it so it’s okay if we do plus you got to play the beta’

  9. Cinek says:

    Hahahahahahahahahahaha

    Again the same nonsense – trailer packed in action, while in reality good 99.99(…)99% of game is nothing like that.

    Again the same false advertisement we’ve seen around the release date. Laughable.

    • Asurmen says:

      I like it when you type hyperbole and/or fabrications because you dislike the game.

      Action starts at 0:59 and stops around 1:07.

      • Cinek says:

        Who’s fabricating, sir? 0:38 onwards.

        • Asurmen says:

          Showing the game being played isn’t action, is it? It’s like describing a scene on COD of your player walking in a straight line doing nothing as action. Or a scene in a film containing characters sitting around talking as a fight sequence. The only time what can be described as action is right at the end.

          If you’re going to complain, at least use the right words.

          • Cinek says:

            Wow, you’re really being manipulative. But to call in your COD example: Sir, “in a straight line doing nothing” is what you do most in Elite – if trailer would be made of that – I wouldn’t have any complains.

          • Cinek says:

            What Frontier is doing here is like advertising Euro Truck Simulator 2 with a video half of which is filled with accidents and speeding on a red light.

          • Asurmen says:

            So no actual argument, just another attempt at being a bore. Got you.

            You were wrong. Deal with it.

  10. popej says:

    Point being that some folks will think it a bit unfair that they’ve paid £40 for the base game and are now asked to pay a further £40 for the expansion (less temp £10 discount). Where as people just starting get everything for £40.

    Personally I don’t care enough anymore but it is a bit frustrating for some.

    • popej says:

      Was supposed to be a reply to ‘metric day’ but the posting system beat me.

  11. Flank Sinatra says:

    I just don’t get why I would want to “multi-crew” a ship. Unless having a second player as a crew member gives my ship superpowers, I’d rather have a second player in his own ship, as my wingman. Ditto for launching a mini-fighter or my pilot having a face. It doesn’t serve the gameplay. The landing on planets is decent and driving the buggy around is fun for a little while, but there’s not much to do beyond picking up rocks and poking around the 2 or 3 different types of outposts. They all seem like elements they are putting in place to build on in the future, not to enhance the game they have now. One day maybe we will have a huge war against the Thargoids, with chain missions and raid scenarios and boss fights and epic stories, but that should have been the starting point of the design, not the end goal of 10 years of paid expansions.

    • Captain Deadlock says:

      Yeah. What the hell will a second pilot do? Man a single turret? That’ll be fun for minutes.

    • Chaz says:

      I’m guessing that they’re going to add a bit more complexity and ship management that would give multi-crew ships an edge. Otherwise yes, it’d be pointless.

      • Cinek says:

        To be useful it’d have to give them an edge over an alternative: 2 ships – or at a very least approach the combat potential they have. I seen nothing to believe that this will be the case.

      • Flank Sinatra says:

        Exactly my problem with this “season pass” model. It’s not like a shooter where we pay for more maps or an RPG where you pay for more stories after the main quest. You know what you’re getting with that. Frontier wants us to pay more money for core features and mechanics of an unfinished game. It’s like charging an annual subscription to an early access beta.

      • Hexcaliber says:

        They eventually plan on adding ai crew to fill different roles, they also have ai wingmen on the cards too. Consider the current limit on wing size, they already announced back in closed beta there would be a number of levels of player interaction and grouping. Imagine for a moment a wing of ships, each with 3 or 4 players filing different roles, pilot, a couple of gunners, and pilot for the fighter; now more players can be involved in various operations or missions in the game. They also plan to add fps combat and ship boarding; much easier to board and take over a ship when there are several players on board instead of simple ai.

        Of course, this all has to come to fruition, but these are some of the features they spoke about in the design discussion forum back in closed beta.

        • Asurmen says:

          AI wingman were mentioned back in the Wings update. Nothing ever materialised and I’m not aware of them being mentioned recently. Bit disappointing.

  12. anHorse says:

    This pricing model just tells me to not play the game. Especially on an expansion that offers little of interest to me up front, selling mainly on the promise of stuff to come in the near future.
    Plus it very much feels like I’d be paying £30 in order to maintain content patch support for my game rather than spending £30 and getting a big expansion.

    Same thing happened with guild wars 2, I’d lost interest in the game a while before the xpac by might have come back for it but the pricing model just felt like a slap in the face.

    Maybe if they use this model on all the expansions I’ll come back in about 3 years.

    Hell it might have some content by then ;)

    • tomimt says:

      Or you could just wait about 8 years until they’ve gotten to the end of the planned 10-year expansion plan and get everything with one price.

      • hotmaildidntwork says:

        At least assuming that they don’t shut the server down after they’re done with it, or whatever.

      • minijedimaster says:

        Heck, within that time frame Star Citizen will be out and have all these features and then some anyway.

        • Cinek says:

          Really doubtful. So far Frontier even refused to acknowledge the issue with a depth of the game and instead focuses on making the already-too-wide ocean even wider.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          And Star Citizen will likely be a giant letdown unfortunately. Nothing will live up the hype it generates among its zealous fanbase.

          Unlimited budget and time given to a man who is known to not be great with managing either could be a recipe for disaster.

          I really hope I’m wrong, though. I’d love to see Star Citizen live up to its promises.

  13. Captain Deadlock says:

    “I always feel I’m making a mistake writing about Elite Dangerous: Horizons”

    Funny, that’s exactly what it’s like playing it.

  14. Premium User Badge

    polantom says:

    I’m not entirely sure why people are so annoyed about the pricing. £40 isn’t a massive price for a game or even for an expansion. This isn’t just a couple of new ships and a couple of missions. Its quite a significant addition to the game. If you look at it over a year its less than £4 a month. Remember this is a multiplayer game with servers and associated infrastructure to maintain. That costs money. Frontier needs a revenue stream to support this. How much does it cost to play World Of Warcraft for a year? Ultimately, if you feel its too much then either don’t buy it now or don’t buy it at all. If I see a game I like but don’t fancy paying full price for then I wait for a price drop. If you want to play it now you pay more. Its the same with loads of other games(FIFA springs to mind) as well as phones,TVs,computers, game consoles and a huge number of other things. Its your money aand its your choice.

    • anHorse says:

      “£40 isn’t a massive price for an expansion”

      Um yes it is, even with the discount to £30 that’s still the absolute max I’ve ever paid for an expansion. And that price was for stuff like Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls which utterly transformed the game

      This is £30/£40 for nothing like that and you get the insult of it being given free to new players

      Comparing it to WoW is hilariously stupid given that every other game that tries to use WoW’s pricing has collapsed and gone f2p (the exceptions being games with big licenses behind them)

      Buttloads of games have servers and infrastructure without asking for £40 every year or two

      Maybe if servers were such a concern they could have included and offline mode :)

      • aircool says:

        It’s not even an expansion to be honest, it’s an iteration in which current players have to cough up £30 to play.

      • Premium User Badge

        polantom says:

        The comparison with WoW wasn’t about the pricing structure it was regarding the annual cost of an account which when I played was a lot more than £40 per year although I haven’t played for a while. WoW also charges full price for expansions(which include the original and previous expansions). I would also question whether Reaper of Souls “transformed” Diablo III as while it did extend and arguably improve the game its still basically click click loot. However it does help to make my point that if you don’t want to pay the full price for a game, you can wait a bit and then buy it for a significantly reduced price as you can now get Diablo III and Reaper of Souls for for less than a third of what you would have paid for them if you had bought them at release. Thanks for making my point!

    • minijedimaster says:

      I don’t think the problem anyone has is with the price for new customers. Its with the price for the people who already paid 40+ for the game and now have to pay another 30 for the game. Just noting how they are saying thank you to all of the existing fans who supported the game early on now get screwed over while new customers get the same content for almost half the cost.

      Maybe tone down the fanboi in you next time.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        I don’t like how they use a complete straight exchange for outside of the UK making Elite: Dangerous one of the most expensive digital games for me but that’s fully in their rights to do.

        I’m not paying 90$ (after tax) for a game completely reliant on online servers.

      • Premium User Badge

        polantom says:

        “new customers get the same content for almost half the cost.”
        So what? Is this new? Do you go into a Game store or onto Steam and demand to pay full price for a discounted one year old game because you feel it is unfair to the people who chose to buy at full price?
        I bought Arkham Knight for full price (on PS4 thankfully) last year. Should I be complaining because its now being sold for £20?
        Should I feel gutted because I paid full price for X-Wing and Tie Fighter in the 90’s and people can now buy it for a couple of quid?
        I’ll help you out. The answer is no. This is because I chose to pay full price because I wanted to play it straight away and I felt it was worth it. If someone waited a year and saved a few quid, I don’t care. If someone hasn’t bought it and is waiting until they get it for a fiver, I still don’t care.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Frontier isn’t running the kind of massive server infrastructure used for WoW or EVE. The primary networking is peer-to-peer using the game owner’s own computers (which is why the number of other players you can see at one time is limited). Last I heard, they’re leasing Amazon servers as matchmaking hosts and to feed the gameworld background, which isn’t as intensive or costly as running a setup like WoW. It’s your own computer that does the heavy lifting with network connections when viewing other players in the game. That’s why they can do this without charging a monthly fee, or going the microtransaction route.

      So selling expansions makes sense to keep it going. I’m just surprised, and disappointed, that they’re doing this with a single high-priced package where most of the announced content isn’t even in the package yet.

      If they were releasing smaller DLC’s priced around $15-$20 each, as the content became available, it would allow people to buy into whatever features they wanted. There might be problems getting everyone in sync… maybe that’s why they went with the single high-priced approach. But other games have done it. And it would be a lot easier to swallow a price like this while “betting on the come” that the later features would be worthwhile.

      • minijedimaster says:

        Actually, selling it for one price up front before all the features are out is just fine. The real question is, why are they only bundling it with the base game for 40? If they need money to keep going, then why not keep selling the base game at that price for anyone new and sell this content for something like 20 as an expansion for all to buy and add on to the base? Then all existing players pay 20 for the new content, all new players pay 60 for the game and new content… or just 40 for the game etc. Seems fair for all to me. This way is just moronic. And I don’t even own the base game!

        • grodit says:

          Yeah, Horizons is rather pricey for us owners of the original game. (is that what we should call it now?) However, not sorry as of yet that I bought it still, even though overpriced. Landing on planets is heaps of fun.

        • Asurmen says:

          I think because that then becomes a bottleneck for gaining new players.

    • EhexT says:

      “This isn’t just a couple of new ships and a couple of missions. Its quite a significant addition to the game.”

      A couple of new ships and missions is EXACTLY what this is. You can also land on planets, with no significant gameplay reason to I guess. Hooray – even more endless expanse of sandbox with no toys and nothing to do in it. They’ve essentially added millions of airless worlds that also happen to be utterly devoid of gameplay in addition to being devoid of life and atmosphere.

      This expansion does nothing to fix Elite’s real problems and adds a huge amount of (empty) space instead.

    • haafie says:

      I do love Elite, I played more than 600 hours on the version that came out in 2014. However this Elite + planet landing is not good enough to me to warrant a 30 pound purchase. I’ve had my Elite modernized, I’ve had my money’s worth. Taking my rose coloured spectacles off for a moment and I see there’s currently not enough on offer for me.

    • aircool says:

      You don’t get it. Current ED players will have paid a total of £70+ for a £40 game.

      That’s all kinds of fucked up!

    • metrojethro says:

      Elder scrolls online. Expansions cost 15 – 20 dollars each. You buy the base game, then you buy each expansion you want. You have access to the content you’ve purchased forever. Or, you can buy the base game and pay a $15/mo sub, and have access to all expansions.

      That model is fair. It allows Zenimax to make money as long as they continue to create content that people want to buy.

      But Zenimax (unlike Frontier) aren’t out to screw over their existing customers.

  15. teppic says:

    The new release is expensive – but you get a year of content updates with no extra DLC charges and no sub. I guess you have to look at it as some kind of season pass equivalent.

    They really should have a permanent discount for existing owners though.

    • EhexT says:

      What content updates? The entire base game’s life cycles consisted of 50% of the time spent getting the game to state it should have been at release, if that. The rest of the time they added maybe a dozen spaceships (still less than they advertised the original game with by the way – they’re only now in Horizons getting around to what originally promised on that front) a awfully designed “faction system” that is nothing but a grind to get less than a dozen new items (all of which are variants of existing items). And a CQC mode that is completely separate from the main game (and happens to be the most fun thing in the game, which is telling). And that’s all they achieved in the entire first year – and that’s supposed to be worth full price? And now we’re expected to believe the 2nd year is going to be worth full price again, despite their track record pointing to the opposite?

      • grodit says:

        Ship wise it is not exactly true what you are saying. They promised the game would include around 30 ships in the first season, which is what everybody is getting. Well 29 ships to be exact. You don’t need horizons to get all ships.

  16. DePingus says:

    Guys…can we all stop bickering and just agree to play Rebel Galaxy instead?

    • grodit says:

      ow, that’s a fun little game. I Prefer Elite in the long run though.

      • DePingus says:

        I would probably be able to stomach more Elite Grind™ if I could change the soundtrack to Rebel Galaxy’s soundtrack (or at least a custom soundtrack, but in the same detailed way RG lets you set up different paths for different parts of the game).

    • Flank Sinatra says:

      Played it. Finished it. Would gladly pay for more.

    • minijedimaster says:

      Game was a blast. Although its not AAA by any stretch, it was def worth the $20 they charged for it. Hope they come out with more content for it.

  17. Premium User Badge

    edna says:

    Although expensive, I’m not sure that I mind. ED is a game for enthusiasts, I reckon, so they need to charge a fair bit per unit in order to make a profit and can do it because enthusiasts will pay more. Given that other players aren’t a major part of the game, I’m happy to have got it for a tenner last week and can enjoy pootling around in space. In a year’s time I will doubtless pootle on planets. There still won’t be much to do, and I’ll still enjoy the atmosphere for a few hours.

  18. EnragedPlatypus says:

    Thank god for that $15 dollars off. That sure makes it sting less!… /s

    Certainly does feel like a kick in the pants to have spent $75 bucks for a beta, which I only played for about a month when first released, only to find out if I had just waited a year I could have bought the actual game today for less with a lot more content. I certainly don’t expect it to be free but how about an extra discount for the people who beta tested, one that isn’t just a thinly veiled deadline to buy before you’re essentially just buying the game a second time?

    • Bahska says:

      This happens with every game though. for example some paid 60 dollars for witcher 3 while right now you can get it for half that.

  19. MJones says:

    I’d give them double what they’re asking for the game they originally pitched, talked about in dev diaries, discussed on the design forum, answered questions about at events and sold all the original fans on over a period of 2 years.

    Instead of Elite we got Screenshot Simulator 2015.

    • MJones says:

      Anyone buying Horizons should be absolutely clear that they are buying a year long beta. That’s what Frontier are at.

      Season my arse. Get the graphics looking good and get it out the door.

  20. Premium User Badge

    polantom says:

    If you want to play now then pay the £30/£40. If you’re unhappy with that then either don’t pay it and get on with your life or wait a while and get it cheaper. People pay for a FPS then pay for a season pass. People pay for FIFA 15 then buy FIFA 16 a year later for the same price. This isn’t new.
    I have a Steam wishlist full of games I fancy trying but don’t want to pay full price for them. I’ll wait until the price matches what I’m willing to pay then I’ll buy it. The trade off is that I don’t get to play now. Early adopters pay more. That’s how this business and many others work.

    • aircool says:

      Apples and Oranges..

      And since when did buying ED when it was released make you an early adopter?

      I’ve got the game. I paid for it. Don’t have the cheek to make me buy it again just to get the content that newcomers will get.

      If it wasn’t for those of us buying the game in the first place, they’d not have the cash to develop ED: Horizons; just so they can charge us for the game all over again.

      It’s just bloody rude of Frontier!

      • Premium User Badge

        polantom says:

        Buying just about anything when it launches makes you an early adopter. You buy the new iPhone and you pay more than the guy who buys it two years later. The flip side is that you get to use the new iPhone before he does. If you think its worth it you pay, if you don’t you wait.
        If you had waited and added ED to your Steam wishlist you could have bought it recently for a tenner. You would have saved £30 over “early adopters” but you wouldn’t have been able to play for the last year. Your choice. If you’re unhappy with that then don’t buy it. You’re not entitled to get something for less than the value the owner places on it. The flip side is that if enough people disagree with that value then the owner won’t sell the product.
        Sellers choose a price. Buyers choose whether to pay it.Its pretty simple.

    • anHorse says:

      Imagine if a new footie manager came out and all it offered was walking around the stadium

      • aircool says:

        Indeed. There’s a reason why people buy annual releases of sports games; you want them to reflect the current season.

        Whichever way you look at it, there’s no excusing the pricing of ED:H for current players. Particularly nauseating is the limited (and insultingly low) discount. If you don’t feel like buying the ‘upgrade’ because it’s not really finished, then you’re punished if you buy it later when it’s likely working as intended and a finished product.

        Most people have a cynical attitude to the whole DLC/Season Pass rubbish, whereby you have to spend twice as much just to get the ‘complete’ game. However, for some reason, it’s not a problem for some ED players.

        The bottom line is, a new players spends £40 for the current iteration of ED, whilst a current players spends £30-£40 on top of what they’ve already spent.

        Either release a whole new game and piss off current players, or have the decency to call it ‘added content’ and actually put a reasonable price on that content.

  21. Creeping Death says:

    Oh only £40 for content that was originally pitched as being in the main game? For a game that was already pretty light on content at that price already? Yeaaaaah no.

    I think Elite Dangerous might win the award for my personal most disappointing purchase of the last 12 months.

    • Asurmen says:

      Planetary landing was never pitched as being in main game. It’s always been stated as being in the first expansion.

      • aircool says:

        But it’s not an expansion, it’s a new game (which is just as unfinished as ED) being pitched as an expansion.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Ditto. the pricing scheme is ludicrous, and extremely disrespectful to previous customers. Fuck them. They can’t have my money anymore.

  22. Troubletcat says:

    Man there’s always so much bitterness and squabbling on posts about ED…

    Here’s my take on it: “Squee! A good game that I like is getting a crapload more content over the next year! Also boy howdy those planet landings coming out next week look amazing.”

    …Now to go an article about a game I hate to complain on. Your favorite game, probably.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I’ll fight you if you say a word against Little Big Adventure 2.

  23. Neurotic says:

    It is indeed a weird way of doing things, although not without similar precedents in the MMORPGsphere.

  24. Themadcow says:

    The day they bring out a version of E:D purely focused on a single-player storyline is the day I reach into my pocket. I played about 90 hours in the Beta and just came out of it feeling disappointed about what it could have been if it had a semblance of content for more casual players.

  25. drinniol says:

    OH BOY CRAFTING! What do you do, punch space-trees?

  26. RPSRSVP says:

    The memory of Elite is what got me to buy what is now considered the base game but in the process they exhausted any odds of me buying the DLC’s.

    Frontier Developments, go join Activision or EA, they’ll take your customer milking idea to a whole new level.

  27. Phantasma says:

    By now I guess it must be some kind of Stockholm Syndrome, i really like playing that game but that puzzles me more and more, because in theory Frontiers business model, development philosophy and especially Q&A should deter me from even start the launcher.
    The current expansion is not a precedent but only a concentrated cumulation of the past year.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if only was either

    *Expansion priced like a full game
    or
    *Not even a full expansion, playing catch-up for a year and now calling the same behaviour “Season”
    or
    *Loyal long-time customers getting a worse deal than new players

    not all three of them as it is now.

    And still, bought the overpriced season pass, was mildly impressed by the planetary vistas but not suprised that the gameplay on planets is more or less non-existent and wonder how long it will take for the first bullet point of their “Season” (God, i hate that phrase) to shape up like advertised.

    Bottom line, i will carry on but the short window of being able to recommend the game to friends has closed rather apruptly again.

    Bonus fun fact:
    For now and in the forseeable future you even won’t be able to fight other ships on planet surfaces because of a severe case of “We would but making the AI mind the surface and not crash into it is swooo hawwrd!”
    i’m not kidding.
    Considering ship fights are my bread and butter in the game that may be my personal tipping point, wel’ll see.

  28. Chorltonwheelie says:

    Wankers. Won’t get fooled again.

  29. Konkeroar says:

    It’s just the World of Warcraft payment model, without the monthly fees.

    • metrojethro says:

      No it’s nothing like wow without a monthly sub.
      Yes, in wow you have to buy expansions.
      But when a new player buys an expansion, they don’t get the base content included. They have to buy that, too.
      And the existing player doesn’t have to pay twice for the content he’s already purchased.

  30. Colwolf77 says:

    Great! now all we need is the Thargoids and maybe their actual homeworld to explore and fight on.

  31. link6065 says:

    Frontier has most certainly ripped off it’s customers who bought the vanilla ED game. That is not debatable. I am one of those who were fooled by the pricing model. Honestly, I wasn’t worried about paying the $40 dollars Canadian. (that’s with the discount) The problem was the feeling I got deep down in my gut when I read that new players would be getting the game %50 or nearly that much. I have never felt so abused for buying a product… Personally, I wish I saved the $40 dollars and give it to a standalone indie developer known as Tarn Adams and his lovely creation Dwarf Fortress… http://www.Bay12Games.com

  32. Bugslaughter says:

    Here is my original review on Steam when I bought this game a few months back:

    “I cannot recommend this game for the price of $60. Graphically very nice and it is immersive in that sense. However, there is a general lack of polish in other areas, and there is very little depth.

    At $30 is a good price. $40 is fair. $50 is pushing it.

    $60? I feel insulted and slightly ripped off.”

    After seeing the pricing model for the new “expansion”, it is clear to me that greed IS the name of the game with this developer. There seems to be some kind of psychosis in play here or something. It’s just bad form. The title was lackluster to begin with. Looks great, but no depth. It reminds me of Derek Smart and Battlecrusier 3000, if your familiar with that.

    Funny thing is that I could actually support this title and it’s development/expansion if the pricing were reasonable. I’m a gamer. I like games and I like to see developers succeed with creating awesome games. But if you are operating under this delusion that your game is the cats ass and are going with a “screw your customer base” pricing model, then see you later.

    They wont get a dime from me until they not only come up with a fair pricing model, but also a sincere apology to the community. I’m ready to forgive, but there needs to be some kind of admission of wrongness here, even it’s something basic like “Sorry guys, we just got carried away”.

  33. coollukes says:

    This is all lots of BS. I bought this game which claimed “buy it once and you won’t have to pay for expansions”. Now they are making us pay for basically another game Bullshit the creators are money grabbers. This game might as well as been published by EA.

  34. Brackynews says:

    Using terms like expansion is clearly wrong since not all features have arrived, and season pass seems psychologically conflicting for many people.

    Why not call it a $60 annual subscription? It’s clear that’s how Frontier is expecting to finance itself from its userbase.

  35. Potocobe says:

    I bought the base game only a few days ago because I got tired of being the only one of my friends not playing it. If I want to play with my friends we have to play the same games. This makes sense to me. Now, I know there will be people telling me I should have done my research, and this is true. I still feel cheated already. I knew there was an “expansion” coming. And I stupidly assumed “expansion” meant it would expand the base game. And that it would cost money. Having to buy the game again to get the expansion just seems wrong. It feels wrong. If you are going to offer a stand alone product every year that incorporates all that was added to the previous product before then that is called a sequel. Not a fucking expansion. I would never buy a sequel before finishing the original game. And since E:D can’t be finished I don’t think I would ever buy the sequel unless it added much, much more to the original game to justify buying the same game again. If the price was different I would probably be ok with it. But it isn’t. IIRC the “expansion” is going to cost more than the original whilst including the original game but changing nothing about it.

    Surely this is a psychological issue on my part but if you are going to sell me a slice of dead mammal flesh that has been nearly burned next to some mashed up vegetable roots you have got to make it sound better than that. And if you are going to sell me a game with the hopes that I would buy the same game from you again in the future you absolutely have to make it sound better than the same game with more stuff.

    GTAV has added so much content to their $60 game it blows my mind. I never expected them to add anything to it and they didn’t need to. (If only they would figure out the cheaters problem I would go and play with all that stuff) But if I had to pay $60 again none of it would be worth it because it’s still the same damn game more or less. This is only a problem because I already own the game. New players will only pay $60 and get all that extra stuff and that’s great but owners of the original game would feel cheated and rightly so. Someone further up the page commented about D3 and Reaper of Souls being more along the lines of what you would expect from an expansion and I agree with that and similarly if RoS would have included D3 as a stand alone product I would not have purchased it. Even with all the massive changes they made to it. It would have still felt like buying D3 all over again and playing through it all over again just to get to the reason I bought it, the new stuff.

    So, yeah. Sell your game for what you think it is worth. But if you want to sell it to me AGAIN you are going to have to find a way to not remind me that you already sold it to me (without lying about what it is with marketing) or severely reduce the price for me against the part I already paid for.

    I was really looking forward to looking at the stars standing on another world too.

  36. Schwacko says:

    I feel kinda cheated with this game. I just bought the original game on steam 3 weeks ago during a sale.

    • Premium User Badge

      polantom says:

      Cheated how? It was down to £10 in the Steam sale at one point. Bit of a bargain really. You didn’t get Horizons but you can still play everything else. For £10. For as long as you like.