Elite Dangerous pilots discover an alien Thargoid base

The pilots of Elite Dangerous: Horizons [official site] have become space sleuths in the past year, attempting to uncover more information about the mysterious aliens known as the Thargoids. Their latest discovery is the most momentous yet: a sprawling base on a world hundreds of lightyears from Earth. You can watch the first humans explore its cavernous interior below.

The base was first discovered by intrepid explorers yesterday. You can find it at these coordinates: System HIP 19026, Planet B 1 C, lat: -17 long: -152. Be wary of less-than-friendly players who have been taking advantage of the situation, though. This Reddit thread notes that some pilots have been taking out ships landing on the world, because space is cruel and people can be mean.

Inside the base, players uncovered alien machines and a galactic starmap, but what this structure means for the Elite universe is still unclear. Frontier are, of course, being coy about the whole thing, but earlier this month admitted that the aliens would be playing a major role in the 2.4 update. An adversarial role, of course.

I can understand why they might be a bit annoyed with humanity, mind. I mean, I think I’d be cranky too if I went on my holidays and came home to discover that hundreds of people have been driving space buggies through my livingroom. It’s just rude.


  1. Troubletcat says:

    ED is a great game for the like 20 people who have ever gotten to discover anything amazing.

    For the rest of us it remains a whole lot of wasted potential and a big empty nothing.

    • Beefenstein says:

      At least 20 people enjoy it!

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      It’s like going to a little kid’s birthday party!

    • TheSplund says:

      Gotta agree with you on that – a chilled experience but essentially very (almost infinitely very) empty

  2. Scraphound says:

    I’m guessing the base was completely empty of any tangible reward. Just a weird, mildly interesting series of tunnels to wander through.

    This is where the game really just falls flat for me. I’ve been playing Breath of the Wild lately. I constantly feel rewarded for exploring. Tall mountain looming in the distance? There’s bound to be SOMETHING up there that’s cool and interesting. There’s a reason to turn over stones. A reason to splash around in rivers. A reason to cover every inch of the map possible.

    But Elite, and I have sunk many hours into it, never really gives me anything for my efforts. That’s what absolutely sucks.

    I would spend countless, countless hours exploring, if it meant occasionally finding something interesting. Occasionally being rewarded for my efforts.

    There’s so much empty space out there that there’s plenty of room for all of us to be trailblazers, to wander the stars, find ruins, find weird, interesting weapons and items, discover alien hideouts, etc., etc.

    Instead, there are these bland, empty, needles in a galactic haystack that only the absolute most devoted will ever enjoy.

    I feel Elite has so much unrealized potential. It’s so frustratingly close to the game I’ve always dreamed of.

    • karnak says:

      Honestly I’m still frustrated that E:D never got a single-player offline mode. “Frontier:Elite 2” is probably far, far emptier and devoid of meat than E:D but it’s still one of my favourite games ever.

      Stupid, stupid Braben :(

      • kalzekdor says:

        It does have a single player online mode, though. Yeah, always connected SP games are weird, but if your issue is random people trolling (like those in the article attacking ships attempting to explore the bases) then Solo or Private Group modes solve that.

        • karnak says:

          I didn’t know it was possible to play offline now. I’ll investigate that.

          Thanks for the info.

          • kalzekdor says:

            Not offline, you still need to be connected to the servers. There just won’t be any other human players in your game.

          • Unclepauly says:

            You made me read his post again you a hole. He never said offline

    • Vilos Cohaagen says:

      Yes. This :)

    • Archonsod says:

      “I would spend countless, countless hours exploring, if it meant occasionally finding something interesting. Occasionally being rewarded for my efforts.”

      You find interesting things all the time. Ice geysers large enough to be visible from orbit, huge volcanoes, beautiful vistas over ice asteroid fields in a trinary star system. On the other hand if you’re just looking for a laser of +1 shooting or the like then Elite pretty much isn’t going to satisfy; about the best you’ll get is a few million for scans of unexplored systems, and even then you need to put in considerable effort to find the needle-in-a-haystack earthlike planets if you want a decent payday.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Yes. This. Thankyou.

      • Chaz says:

        You find interesting things all the time. Ice geysers large enough to be visible from orbit, huge volcanoes, beautiful vistas over ice asteroid fields in a trinary star system.

        Can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic here. So my apologies if you are.

        Ice geysers large enough to be seen from orbit? Err nope! From 15km above the surface if you happen to be in the right spot. Realistically your only hope of seeing one is to do a tourist mission.

        Huge volcanos? What, where? There isn’t as far as I’m aware as volcanism is currently only fumaroles and geysers and the like. The biggest plumes I’ve seen are less than 100 meters and it’s rare to see them that big.

        There’s supposed to be things like weird alien growths and stalagmite forests, but aside from the Thargoid stuff I don’t think anyones ever laid eyes on them.

        Hopefully they’ll add a mechanic for finding this stuff with an improvement to the DSS or something. Supposedly exploration will be getting a bit of an overhaul, but to what extent and when is anyone’s guess.

        Problem with ED at the moment, is that if it doesn’t involve shooting stuff, then they don’t seem interested in developing it. Which is a shame, because the shooting stuff bit, is the bit that interests me the least.

    • Asurmen says:

      Define tangible reward.

    • Arithon says:

      You are guessing. Which means you slate a game you weren’t even playing. *slow clap*
      The base had to be unlocked. There were more than 20 players at the first site discovered in just my instance alone when I arrived there at 11pm Monday night. At that point we hadn’t tried using Unknown Probes & Unknown Artifacts as keys. Somebody else did this yesterday at another of the four such sites discovered (so far) during Tuesday and found their way inside. After trial and error they managed to activate the reactor inside and were rewarded with a holographic star map.
      Players analysing the audio have found and published a diagram encoded in the audio (like the previous thargoid signal) which appears to be a star map. Now the race is on to decode this and locate what the map points to.
      As you say. Nothing there. Empty game. Move along.

      • Titler says:

        “Players analysing the audio have found and published a diagram encoded in the audio (like the previous thargoid signal) which appears to be a star map. Now the race is on to decode this and locate what the map points to.”

        So… exactly as they’ve done multiple times before with codes hidden in the audio, then?

        And when The Cannon decodes the audio, or pulls the location from the background of a video, or solves the cipher yet again within a day or so of it being found (because the content is ALWAYS set up as a crypto-nerd ARG for media hits) because the Cannon are apparently not working and are able to dedicate entire days of flight time to race to the location the instant the information is found, everyone else’s experience of the event will involve reading about it on the forums or listening to Obsidian Ant explain what happened.

        I tried to take part in the unknown beacon mystery. The codes were solved before I could even complete 8 hours of flight towards them, and I had one of the top end jump ranges, and saw the post a few hours after it went up. Not fast enough or OCD enough though. I tried to take part in the Thargoid interdiction livestream recently. 114 jumps and I wasn’t interdicted once. I’ve long since passed Elite ranking in Exploration; unless I sit manually submitting the figures tagged onto each little ball to a third party website, I’ve no idea if I’ve even found a record breaking ball because there’s no way in game to know… and who but the most OCD ever has time to do that? Oh, and I’ve found at least 30 Earth Like worlds. I think the only stellar object I don’t have my name on is a ringed ELW. I’ve seen all exploration has to offer. I’m just not so obsessed with Asps In Front Of Stuff that I can delude myself it’s anything more than a ball creation simulator.

        And No Mans Sky was equally transparent too. I’m just not in love with my own imagination to the point I can’t see when there’s really nothing outside myself there to find.

        Honestly, fans of crowd funded games are just the worst. It seems to breed the kind of people that, because they’re so financially and emotionally invested in the product as is, they actually don’t want to even listen to anyone who says it could be improved. Even normal fans aren’t fanatic enough, you have to state the game is positively perfect exactly as it is or otherwise you get Comic Book Guy snark like the post above. It’s not even accurate snark. The base was beautifully designed… but everything else about it was exactly the same as has gone before. Audio log to new scenery to data scanner to new mystery with code breaking… it’s been done before again and again and again.

        But these events are miserable for everyone else! We’re sick of being mere observers to fan service for a tiny percentage of the user base, whilst we get… what? Underwhelming expansion after expansion which hides a time sink grind doing the same things over and over again.

        Elite Dangerous could be so, so fantastic… but for most, including me who has 2,000 odd hours into it since launch a few years back, it’s just a hollow experience propped up by hollow people.

        • Asurmen says:

          Not really sure what your post had to do with the person you replied to. The supposed snark is completely justified, because the OP is talking out of their backside.

          No one is saying it can’t be improved.

          • Cinek says:

            Please, don’t troll. It’s not IGN. What he posted answers all points made by Arithon. And don’t tell us that ‘it can be improved’ cause that’s BS argument. Everything can be improved. So what? It changes nothing to the state of the game, direction it’s heading or how stuff changed since the release in spite of Frontier’s grandiose plans and wishful thinking from the loudest voices on a forums.

      • Scraphound says:

        “You are guessing. Which means you slate a game you weren’t even playing. *slow clap*”

        Oh, fun! I can play the snarky Interwebs d00d game, too! I stated in my post that I’ve sunk many hours into the game (well over 100). You read the first sentence and then stopped. *slowclap*

        Yeah, I don’t want to be devote my life to Elite. I don’t want to decode audio or jump through hoops. I want to play a game. I already have a job, thank you.

        That said, bravo. I’m glad these obscure puzzles exist for the truly dedicated.

        I want to explore systems, scan planets, and sometimes find neat stuff in the course of an evening.

        It’s been years now. Exploration is a dud for the majority of players, and that’s a shame. The wonder I felt in the first 10 hours of play is gone and there’s nothing of any real depth to make up for that. Just grinding and grinding and grinding. And please, let’s not get into the “read a guide on how to make the game fun for you” argument. NO THANK YOU! It’s the dev’s job to make the game fun.

        • Asurmen says:

          Er, their point is still correct. You are guessing. The snark was warranted.

    • Sporaric says:

      No. It wasn’t.

  3. Ghostwise says:

    Allow me to most sternly and disapprovingly point out that “alien Thargoid” is an enormous pleonasm.

    /finger waggle


    • Fraser Brown says:

      The “alien” is there in case people think, rather reasonably, that Thargoid is a type of cough medicine or maybe an internal organ.

    • Beefenstein says:


      • Blackcompany says:

        I don’t know what’s funnier:

        This comment…or it’s coming from someone called “Beefenstein.”

        Either way, I’m going to go clean.my keyboard now…

    • Blad the impaler says:

      In all my years, I have seen the word pleonasm only twice on the Internet. I didn’t go looking, mind you. But both times it was on this website. RPS is shrouded in shadowy darkness, for sure.

      • batraz says:

        Or the internet is shrouded in some sort of self satisfied stupidity and ignorance ;) Pleonasm is a pretty common word. Books, you know ?

    • TheSplund says:

      A quick floccinaucinihilipilification on your part there – nice

      • something says:

        Many contrafibularities for the pericombobulation of your response.

  4. Retzinsky says:

    The first base to be found (the one mentioned in the article at System HIP 19026, Planet B 1 C, lat: -17 long: -152) is damaged and non-functional. The one with the interior you can access that features the starmap and associated puzzle is actually at HIP 14909, Planet 2 A, lat: -26.5, long: -27.5 and was discovered a few hours later.

  5. ludde says:

    Apparently Frontier gives out information on how to find these places to select groups. If that’s true, doesn’t that sort of ruin the exploration aspect for the general population?

    But maybe any meaningful exploration in a game like this is an illusion anyway.

  6. Hyena Grin says:

    I guess it was already touched on above, but I am ambivalent about this sort of content in games. On the one hand, it’s certainly cool that there can be unique and interesting things out there in the world to discover, but it often feels like the devs are more interested in producing content for a tiny minority of players rather than actually making the base gameplay more entertaining and rewarding.

    Content that is basically not accessible and/or useful is just something to talk about.

    ‘Apparently some guy found a thargoid base.’
    ‘Oh yeah? Was there anything cool there?’
    ‘Nah, just some tunnels to fly through.’
    ‘Do you want to like… go there?’
    ‘… maybe. I may just watch a youtube video of it though.’

    As someone who plays E:D in spontaneous bursts rather than regularly, these kinds of events don’t draw me back, they make me frustrated that whenever I sit down to play the game it’s never that interesting.

    My enjoyment of the game comes entirely from an admittedly excellent and immersive space flight experience, combat that is sometimes (but not always) exciting, and tourism for giving a decent-paying activity that isn’t combat. I find it really hard to enjoy the rest of the content because it feels like it was never quite finished and then was forgotten about.

    I wanted to do trading, and discovered there’s only one ‘correct’ way to trade unless you want to waste mountains of time for a pittance.

    I wanted to do planetary missions, and discovered planetary content is woefully underdeveloped, the missions are time-consuming and yet utterly trivial in terms of challenge, and pay next to nothing.

    I wanted to do missions in general, but they don’t sign-post enough for how to complete them, often require gear you don’t have, often put you up against enemy ships you have no hope of beating, and of course they pay absolutely horribly compared to how much time you spend doing them.

    I wanted to do exploration until I realized that one ball in space is much like any other ball in space, given I can’t do much with them. Don’t get me wrong, I did explore and made a good chunk of money doing it, but once was enough. Going back out would be needless repetition.

    I wanted to get involved in Powerplay, only to realize that it’s literally the most boring possible set of game mechanics that could ever exist given how interesting the high-concept is. Political struggles! Borders changing! Strife between factions! … deliver 7 million units of fliers. Seriously?

    I want to like this game SO MUCH MORE than I do. Ugh. Please, how hard can it be to sit down and actually focus on making the game fun to play. It’s hard to be excited about Thargoids when everything else in the game is so dreary.

    • Asurmen says:

      They’re working on that post 2.4.

      • Cinek says:

        If I’d get a cent for every time someone tells me that Frontier’s working on something post-X.Y and yet it’s nowhere to be found a year, two or three later – I’d be a billionaire by now.

  7. Pizzzahut says:

    I always read this as “Elite Dangerous pilots discover an alien Thyroid base”.

  8. Baton says:

    The base is something incredible, well worth visiting
    link to goo.gl