Elite Dangerous: Horizons launches multicrew update

Elitists can now fly ships with their chums and create their own spaceface, thanks to the big Elite Dangerous: Horizons [official site] update today launched. The headline feature of Horizons version 2.3, nicknamed ‘The Commanders’, is multicrew spaceshipping, letting several players take stations on the bridge. The auxiliary roles don’t sound super exciting in themselves as Elite wasn’t built with them in mind but hanging with your friends is surely a lark.

Non-Horizons Elitists aren’t left out. The whole game benefits today from an update adding sights like asteroid bases and roaming ‘megaships’. Have a look at it all:

So! If your ship has enough spare seats, you can now welcome chums to the bridge. The three roles are Helm, Gunner, and Fighter Control, with that last one taking command of NPC fighters launched from the ship’s belly. Few ships are able to do the lot. I believe players can also, if they’d rather, just hang out. Horizons does also have matchmaking to fill out multicrew roles, if you’d like to meet new spacepeople.

Accompanying this is a character creator to build your own spaceman for all the world to see.

To go along with those two features are new “vanity camera” tools letting players snap pictures of themselves and their ships from a choice of angles, fiddling with focus settings and things too.

Ever the tourist, what I like the sound of most is the new things to see. 32 bases in hollowed asteroids are now out there to visit, as are 100 new tourist beacons. And out there, somewhere, are megaship-class vehicles, offer station services as they roam the galaxy. Some of them are meant to be even bigger than stations. A bit of spectacle never goes amiss. Elite certainly does do pretty well.

Hit the patch notes for more details on all this as well as fixes and new features like naming ships and so much more.

If you’re not an Elitist yet, hey, a 33% discount to celebrate the launch brings it down to £13.39/16,74€/$20.09 on sale on Steam and Frontier’s store. The Horizons expansion pass is on sale too, with the same discount and at the same price.


  1. CartonofMilk says:

    probably the most pointless update of the “season” and the bar was set high …

    • geldonyetich says:

      I concur. I mean, it’s good that they’re still updating the game, it fully deserves it. But an update that promotes multiple crew member ships?

      This is a game series that has been about the power of individuals piloting ships. The additional crew has always been implied supporting NPCs, but the player pilot was still responsible for everything.

      Discarding historical precedent, Elite: Dangerous is a game balanced in such a way that it is utterly pointless to put your eggs in one basket. 3 individuals in their own ships can easily defeat a single ship that costs 100X more. Who in their right mind would bother to be on the receiving end of that? Why give up the individuality of piloting your own ship?

      Overall, this is an update that bellows Frontier has no idea what their playerbase really wants. Perhaps it’s because they’re listening to a vocal minority. Perhaps it’s because they’re not listening at all.

      • zeep says:

        Frontier can’t please everyone apparently. Personally i really like this update, even though i didn’t like the 3rd person camera at first. During this beta i began to appreciate it a lot.

        As an 8 bit elite player from way back i simply love this game, it’s exactly like the classic and more.

        You say the vocal minority approves, but i bet the people who complain and don’t like ED and it’s development are the loudest voices.

        But yes it’s great that they keep updating the game. Hopefully in the end after some more updates, more players will be satisfied.

        Right on commanders.

        • geldonyetich says:

          What is it that you like about this update, exactly, and why?

          See, the thing that gets me is it seems like the game has much more pressing problems. Its losing players because there just isn’t enough interesting things to do to sustain them. There inevitable endgame portion doesn’t really have a point.

          So Frontier sees this and thinks multicrew ships are what we need? How does this help? How does anything this update does help with the elephant in the room that’s squashing the life from the game?

          And my first Elite was on the C64, so it’s not like I’m any less a fan of the series. But I’ve played MMORPGs since then. The virtual world bar has been raised.

          • tomimt says:

            Yeah, that’s a huge problem with Elite. Now, I do like the Holo-me thing, as it is very well done character editor, but as a whole the entirety of Horizon season pass has been a bit underwhelming. They have added a lot of cosmetic things, like new stations and bases, but there’s really no hook that would catch you and make you play for hours on end.

            I’ve said it before, but I do think there’s a simple way they could add more interest to Elite and that’s by proper story missions. They could have a separate game mode, something like Elite Stories, where you’d be able to play story and lore focused missions. The best thing is, a mode like that wouldn’t take anything out from those who are solely interested about the sand box quality but would also add more value to the game itself.

          • Chaz says:

            In reply to Tomimt.

            I don’t think story missions would fit in a game like this. Everyone would end up playing the same missions in typical MMO fashion. Not something I’d be interested in at all.

            For me I thought the Horizons expansion was supposed to be primarily about the planetary lands. Apart from the initial release of landable airless planets and a few minor, mostly cosmetic updates, they’ve been pretty much left and seemingly neglected. They should have been working on loads more content for the surfaces but instead we got the Engineers and lots more combat balances and tweaks, as if the game needed those waters muddying any more than they already were.

          • tomimt says:

            The way I meant for the stories to be included wouldn’t be in a regular MMO fashion. I wouldn’t even include them IN the main game itself but as a separate instance where you would be able to choose a story of your liking. A bit in a similar fashion like what Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes did.

            That way there would be more driven content for those Elite fans who don’t necessarily want to play in the sand box all the time and that main game itself wouldn’t turn into regular “everyone doing the same mission at the same time” kind of thing.

          • Asurmen says:

            That would also consume a large amount of resources that they don’t have.

          • mjermyn says:

            Regarding Elite, I was playing it on the beeb. It had charm and Thargoids! The new EliteD is a grind, there’s nothing to do and it gets boring really quickly, even with an oculus and all the hotas it still gets old. It reminds me a lot of Diablo 3, which lost the plot and lost a lot of fans with the auction house. But they lost their way from the original charm of Diablo, which to me is the same issue ED is facing. I kind of like the plot line idea – Freespace was a great game, Homeworld too. Both had a storyline that really helped the game along. I think they’re trying by adding missions and stuff, but I find them a little lacking in synchronicity. Also another grumble is the ships lack significant difference and you need to be a commander of some sort to get the damn thing, so that’s really limiting and something I think Star Citizen has avoided, assuming that ever releases.

      • Asurmen says:

        Because some people do want to obviously? Because this is just the first step? Because this has been planned for awhile?

        • geldonyetich says:

          Because some people do want to obviously?

          Someone wants just about anything you can imagine. Doesn’t make it the right choice.

          Because this is just the first step?

          At the rate the game’s going, there might not be a second.

          Because this has been planned for awhile?

          Again, doesn’t mean it was the right choice.

          • Asurmen says:

            Doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice either. Not very feature will be used by everyone. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be added.

            Frontier I believe are financially stable. Seems to me like the game will be around for awhile.

            See my first point for details.

          • geldonyetich says:

            Seems to me you’re arguing from speculation. “Some people want that feature” Not that you have any idea how many versus those who don’t. “Frontier should be financially stable” Not that you’ve seen their books or know if financial stability has any bearing on pulling the plug on one of their projects, ect.

            I’m arguing from observations as a player. I’ve played the game, seen the lacking endgame, and see that there’s other major issues that should have been addressed a long tine ago. Instead, we get features that act like those aren’t issues at all.

            If you can’t see why that’s a problem, it’s not my job to make you.

          • geldonyetich says:

            Sorry, in my haste that post ended a little more severely than it should have, possibly because I really don’t have the time or energy to argue.

            I acknowledge that a subjective observation is not nearly as true as objective reality. However, as I find the basis of your points to be based on speculation on common sense assumptions, I still think you’ve no grounds to argue.

      • Anti-Skub says:

        Being able to play with my friends in a meaningful way is the only thing worthwhile in the entire season in my opinion. Some of us aren’t interested in the whole lonely space trucker fantasy you know.

        Also, multicrew ships are stronger than regular ships. Manned turrets are much more accurate, player controlled fighters are far more effective, and each crew member adds a power pip to the ships distributor, meaning that a multi crew ship can run full power to both weapons and shields.

        • Danarchist says:

          I stopped playing awhile back when my flight stick died (ok well i squeezed the damn thing so hard it shattered…) and was waiting for something in the game like this to make me want to buy a new one ;)

          Still the only worthwhile use of the Occulus rift I have found so far.

    • Crowbar says:

      For some of us, this is the update we’ve been waiting for since the release of the game. My friends and I really look forward to sharing a ship.

      If there is another high quality space sim out there that allows you to do this, I’m unaware of it.

  2. Zenicetus says:

    Great, just the thing to get me not going back into Elite, because all I ever cared about was compelling singleplayer content. Good job!

  3. Antsy says:

    I feel like Frontier keep adding rooms to the house but aren’t fussed about giving giving the rooms a reason to be there; or furniture…

    Who’s idea was this metaphor? Idiot!

    • zarthrag says:

      You aren’t wrong. “The game is a galaxy wide, and an inch deep” – to quote my own steam review. Everything in-game could be fun, for about 5 minutes. But the moment you try to specialize in something that ISN’T pvp, (e.g. mining, bounty hunting, exploration, whatever) – you discover that there’s simply no depth of play.

      But fanboys will defend this game for the virtue of receiving actual active development while in release status. Even if it’s just bolt-on features, and not bugfixes or maintenance of issues players are already having. Oh, and anyone who hasn’t played 1000hrs hasn’t actually “played” the game 0_o

      • Dogshevik says:

        I concur. After trying out everything and achieving the first goal you set for yourself (“I want THAT spaceship”) the game felt pretty much exhausted in what it had to offer.

        Even the one area where you are supposed to get involved with other people, faction play, turns out to be just the same kind of shallow grind everything else is. And you don´t actually interact with people. You just get a list of where to grind next.

        A shame really. Lots of unrealized potential.

  4. Unclepauly says:

    bit of a cheap shot yeah? It at least makes a bit of sense. (it wasn’t mine)

    – reply to Antsy rooms n furniture crack

  5. Premium User Badge

    duquessheep says:

    This is reminiscent of when CCP added “walking in stations” to EVE, which really amounted to “sitting in your living room by yourself.”

    Shiny feature without anything behind it to shore it up. It’s a shame, because I really want to like Elite but after a couple hundred hours it’s just too dull. The only enjoyment I can really find in the game now is as a Fuel Rat, and even that isn’t enough anymore to motivate me to log in and fly the 17k LY back to the bubble where I got bored last.

    • Gurrlin says:

      I fail to see how this is a problem if you already put several hundreds of hours into a game, isn’t it time to move on? Really hope you enjoyed the game during that time. I would most likely have stopped playing before hitting the 20 hour mark. To each their own I guess.

  6. Caiman says:

    Great, just what we need, Elite Dangerous turning into Star Citizen, because that’s what it looks like. I actually quite enjoyed this game in its original form, but as a single player gamer I’ve zero interest in all the multiplayer-focused stuff they’ve been adding lately, and it seems I’m not in the core audience for the game anymore.

  7. Hyena Grin says:

    Just a warning, it seems like their store is getting hammered. A lot of people (including myself) have seen massive delays in purchased items being delivered in-game.

    On a lark I bought some tattoos on their shop. It has been nine hours and it still hasn’t shown up in-game, but boy did they definitely take my money before delivering.

    I mean, I don’t know what their setup is, but I guess this isn’t uncommon for them, and it’s unheard of. I’ve had real actual physical objects shipped to me from Amazon faster than their shop servers can apparently handle unlocking a digital item that is already present in the game.

    At the very least they could not charge you until their system has caught up and can actually deliver.

    • Asurmen says:

      It’s unheard of to have server delays?

      • Hyena Grin says:

        On a shop that’s been open for two years?


        Uh, yes? Kinda?

        Can you name even a single other case of this kind of thing happening on a game that’s been out for even a month? I can buy crap on Overwatch or whatever and get it within seconds. Or any given MMO.

        Don’t make excuses, their store server setup is garbage if it can’t turn around a digital purchase in half a damn day.

        • Asurmen says:

          Erm, every server in existence with suffer delays if hit hard enough.

          Not making excuses. Just pointing out reality.

          • Hyena Grin says:

            You’re being incredibly obtuse.

            I’m not even sure what you are trying to say. I warned people that the server is getting hammered and there are delays up to at least ten hours (which is how long mine took) in order to receive purchased items on the store.

            I also expressed my opinion that their server setup appears to not be up to the task of handling even a light load because these delays are a frequent complaint on their support forums. And that, I am happy to imply, suggests they should improve their setup.

            What part of that do you disagree with when you say ‘SERVERS SOMETIMES HAVE DELAYS’

            Do you have a point? Is it that nobody should be surprised that it takes ten hours for an item in a digital store to unlock, so unsurprised in fact that it’s not even worth mentioning or criticizing? Or fixing, on their end?

          • Asurmen says:

            Not even being slightly obtuse. Server gets hammered. Expect delays.

            Welcome to the internet. I have no idea what you’re complaining about.

    • TheNavvie says:

      I’d assumed their shop required human intervention for each order… it always takes ages.