The big alien ships of Elite Dangerous [official site] have been eluding, confusing and amusing the space sim’s pilots for a while. But now they will also blow you up, thanks to the most recent patch. The Return (less ominously known as update 2.4) gives weapons to the extraterrestrials in the form of a beautiful swarm of tiny fighters that launch from the rear of the alien vessels and cut any aggressor to ribbons. I’m calling this gang of lethal little fellows “the Thwarm”.
While you can get a sense of this in an earlier cinematic trailer from Frontier, you can directly experience it yourself today if you go and poke the aliens with a big laser. Short version: they are scary. Those cine-trailers usually make me think: “Sure, but it won’t look like that in the game”. Yet after watching some commanders take a punt at these giant green lotus flowers, the balletic movements of the Thwarm as previously depicted is frighteningly accurate. Here’s an excerpt from player ObsidianAnt, after he fired a few shots at one of the alien craft.
The aliens hang out at “Non human signal sources” which show up in various systems, and they still don’t seem to attack unless provoked (or possibly if you have something they want in your cargo hold). They also don’t appear to be vulnerable to any human weapons so far, although one of the community goals set by the developers is to collect resources for the building of a weapon that can hurt them.
You can see all the patch notes for update 2.4 on the game’s forum but Frontier like to be coy with the specifics of alien technology and let the players discover things as they go. “Added mysterious and exciting things” is a recurring line in many patch notes for the space shooter.
However, some commanders are collecting info about the aliens and arranging that together in an FAQ. Reportedly, the Thargoids like to scoop up cargo containers filled with slaves, or even escape pods.
Oh my god… They want our people.