Elite: Dangerous Players Discover Alien Life, Shoot At It

Kill it! That's always your answer, isn't it.

What will happen when humanity first meets alien life in the depths of space? We’ll murder it and see if anything valuable plops out its corpse, of course. Following a trail of cryptic hints, Elite: Dangerous players have encountered alien life for the first time on a few planets. And shot it.

Luckily, the giant barnacle-looking lumps seem inert, and have not respond with hails of plasma and threats to destroy the galaxy. Not yet, anyway. However, spires which surround them (and may be part of them) are the only known source of meta-alloys so… humanity, ladies and gentlemen!

The first barnacles were found yesterday on Merope 5 C, if you fancy having a look yourself (that picture up top is snagged from that thread). I do like how they glow at night.

The discovery came thanks to mysterious Unknown Artefacts, which have been appearing across space making weird noises. It seems they perform scans, broadcast distorted Morse code, and even send encoded diagrams of ships which scan them. And they point towards Merope. So off people went! Barnacles have since been found on other planets too.

Many suspected Unknown Artefacts (UAs) would lead towards the Thargoids, Elite’s hostile race of insectile aliens, and maybe they still will. The Thargoids haven’t been discovered in Dangerous yet, but in earlier games had ultra-powerful weapons and the ability to pull ships out of jumps. Encountering them usually meant a swift death.

In other Elite news, a flotilla of hundreds of players is setting out towards the far side of the galaxy, across the galactic core, in the Distant Worlds expedition. Following the path of a trailblazing earlier journey, they’ll scan and explore as much as they can along the way. Who knows what they might find? We’ve sent Brendan along to see.


  1. Zaxwerks says:

    We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill…

  2. Tycow says:

    Despite punting for premium beta access, and repeated attempts to get into it, for me E:D has fallen into the same category as EVE Online: nice to read about and watch clips of antics, not so good to play myself. :(

    • Chalky says:

      It’s a pretty slow paced game, but it’s one hell of a solid foundation to build on – and they clearly are building on it. Looking forward to what it turns into, and I’d recommend it to anyone who thinks Euro Truck Simulator in space sounds like fun – which isn’t a criticism at all.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      I jump back and forth myself, but then again the steam version is saying something around 300 hours and that’s not the full picture, as i have premium beta aswell and i played a lot with Frontier’s own client.

      Whatever happens, you have automatic access to a lot of long term plans, at some point some compelling update is bound to happen!

      • Hobbes says:

        That seems to be Frontier’s entire business model –

        Selling the idea that at some point, something interesting is GOING to happen, whilst in the meantime planting big “Soon(tm)” signs around where the should be things actually happening.

    • Unsheep says:

      Revisiting certain genres that you used to like in the past can lead to disappointment, I think we’ve all been there.
      Maybe once they add more things in ED, perhaps a campaign or two, it will be more fun for you. They seem willing to experiment and try new things, which is a positive sign.

    • Psychomorph says:

      This is precisely how it is for me, too. I like to watch videos and thinking about the game makes me excited, but every time I start to play it’s an okay experience and soon enough I put it aside for another few months.

      If Horizons wasn’t so overpriced, I’d give it a go still, but not for that kind of money.

    • badmothergamer says:

      After putting ~20 hours into it a year ago and getting bored, I reinstalled recently to play with some friends who picked it up for $15 over X-mas. I still find combat too repetitive and boring, but I am enjoying making simple trade runs again. I’ll throw a stream on my second monitor, queue up a season of something on the tv, then trade for a few hours. As long as I don’t forget to request docking permission and get blown up, it’s a relaxing way to grind a few million into the bank and only requires about 25% of my attention.

      I’m not regretting the $60 I spent on it as much anymore though I’m still another 30 hours from hitting my $1/hr purchase rule. It’s definitely worth $15 when it’s on sale.

  3. Asurmen says:

    Been following this since it started back in 1.2 patch. Wonder where it will go next and how it relates to the station shutdowns.

  4. Alberto says:

    Nice to see some bigger plot running. That’s what kept me playing Frontier II through its infernal bugs. It’s what can make me play through somewhat bland and loveless random missions.

    But I’m reinstalling only because a friend told me there’s a photo mode at last, and I want some cool pics of my ride.

  5. anHorse says:

    First signs of any life in E:D then :) :) :)

  6. Harlander says:

    Sonar in space?

  7. LimaBravo says:

    Elite : Thargoids are mere $60 for some overpowered bots ….

  8. popej says:

    What’s the cheapest way to get horizons presently (I own the base game).

    Cheers folks

    • LimaBravo says:

      $54 for a Star Citizen starter pack :p

      • LimaBravo says:

        Thats a Singleplayer campaign voiced by Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson,Mark Strong, Mark Hamill, John Rhys Davies, Andy Serkis, & others, episodically drawn out to integrate with the MMO.

        The MMO comes with it as well :P

        • Llewyn says:

          Fanboys, regardless of their favourites, are insufferable bores. This includes you. Please stop it. It’s behaviour that’s only narrowly separated from trolling, and nobody’s going to respect you for it.

          • Asurmen says:

            Based on these posts, the only person who appears to be a bore here is you. Lima’s posts are clearly tongue in cheek to me.

  9. Arithon says:

    Players didn’t just shoot it, they brought one of the Unknown Artifacts (UAs) to see if it changed its behaviour or gave a new signal, but there was no reaction at all.
    The barnacles contained two tonnes of meta-material (a never before seen commodity, worth 41,000CR per ton) and a mixture of phosphorous, sulfur, carbon and iron.
    Merope was 400Lyr from my location last night, but I flew over there and joined the crowd of onlookers while the hardcore of investigators recorded sounds and took video.

  10. Symarian says:

    Man, I love this game

  11. Cinek says:

    ATM it looks like yet another half-finished feature. With “half” being generous description.

    • Asurmen says:

      Have you been following this at all?

      • gwathdring says:

        Probably. Have you been playing Horizons? So far its a bit of a mess …

        The ARG sounds fantastic but that’s hardly representative of most of Horizons and when you get down to what they’ve actually managed to add in terms of interactivity and investment and functioning new sub-systems? It’s a bit disappointing.

        • badmothergamer says:

          I haven’t seen many folks trying to argue Horizons is worth the price in its current state. It seems a lot of purchases were made out of loyalty to Frontier, which in my opinion is understandable. If you’ve put hundreds of hours into ED, throwing another $60 to Frontier is a nice way of saying “thanks”. I did it for DayZ SA after putting 1000+ hours into the mod even though I had no intention of ever playing SA.

          • Vapor_Strike says:

            What people don’t seem to understand is that the expansion is being developed over the next many months. Once it’s completed, I personally have no doubt that it will be worth what I paid. But right now they’re getting the foundation firmly in place. Once it’s in place, they’ll start pouring in the content.

          • Rindan says:

            Yeah dude. E:D is totally going to start pouring content all over our hot bodies any second now. Any second now… any second now…

        • Asurmen says:

          Well, given his replies previously, no I don’t think he’s been paying attention to this.

          As for Horizons, yes I have been playing it, but the state of Horizons have utter NOTHING to do with the state of this story. There’s absolutely no way he can state it looks half finished. It’s basically his anti-ED bias showing.

          • EhexT says:

            They’ve been stringing people along with “item that makes noise” since release. That’s the absolute lowest effort level you can possibly make – especially since it’s lead to…nothing but a new “item that makes noise”. I’m sorry those items also have a paragraph of text to them. What content. There is no gameplay in this “developing story”, it’s the kind of stuff you pay a low-quality ARG production house for.

  12. Kow says:


  13. Kow says:

    The bane of my old sessions of Elite as a kid.

  14. hollowroom says:

    Ah the Thargoids. I did wonder what happened to witchspace. An absolute nightmare in the old Elite unless you had military lasers and an energy bomb handy.

  15. Unclepauly says:

    Want your mind blown? We’re the aliens man, we’re the aliens. BWOOOOOOOOSH

  16. Zenicetus says:

    Regarding that Distant Worlds Expedition, I wonder if the devs have changed the way the game generates NPC’s everywhere you go? It’s been a long time since I was in the game, so maybe they have. If they haven’t, then that expedition won’t see much that’s different on the other side of the Galaxy.

    I remember how disappointing it was, that during the late Beta someone managed to reach the Galactic core, and they were met there by auto-gen NPC pirates. Or maybe they were NPC merchants, I can’t remember. After that, there was a request from the playerbase to thin out auto-gen NPC’s when you get far enough away from the starter systems, but I don’t know if the devs ever did that. It should be lonely out there. Or filled with aliens. Seeing other NPC human ships really breaks the mood.

    • Alberto says:

      In First Encounters I somehow managed to get to a ‘forbidden’ system, and invisible military npc’s blew your ship.

      I guess if a player can reach the galactic core, the military can, too.

    • jerubius says:

      That was fixed by launch. Either that or shortly thereafter. Actually, I think it was shortly after, come to think of it. But the point is that has been fixed for the better part of the year now. Pretty much the only time you will see another ship outside the bubble is if you go to Sag A* in open, and even that is unlikely nowadays.

  17. Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

    I’m waiting another 6 months for the Oculus Rift CV1 before reinstalling Elite. HOTAS FTW!

    • Vapor_Strike says:

      Same, though I’ll probably go with the Vive. I’ll play every now and then right now, but ohhhh, once I get that headset, combined with my X52, I’ll be having the time of my life. E:D is pretty much the only game that I really, really want a VR headset for, so I’m basically shelling out more for E:D than I would for a new console. But it will be great.

    • Asurmen says:

      That’s assuming it ever gets support that is.

  18. Vapor_Strike says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more “human” article title on here.

  19. OmNomNom says:

    I want to love this game so much.

  20. Brae says:

    Not entirely correct, it wasn’t the UAs which started the search for barnacles, rather the Horizons launch trailer. It was just the UAs that meant people happened to be searching Merope