Squadrons and fleet carriers are coming to Elite Dangerous in 2018 for free

Elite Dangerous Beyond

Things have been hotting up in Elite Dangerous’ [official site] facsimile of our massive galaxy, what with that whole alien invasion problem. But if humanity can survive the Thargoids, there’s a whole lot more coming in 2018 with a new season called Elite Dangerous: Beyond. Frontier announced a roadmap at Frontier Expo, and it looks like they’re going to be cramming a lot into these free updates, including new ships, tools and large group content

If you missed the livestream, you can watch the replay below.

Over the year, you’ll see improvements to crafting, trading, co-op — including the addition of guild-like Squadrons and massive, dockable fleet carriers — and planet creation. Expect more consequences for being a naughty criminal, too. You’ll be able to get new ships, like The Chieftain and The Krait, which you might recognise if you played the original Elite. And if you’ve become invested in the narrative, good news: the story of the Guardians will carry on. That means exploring ancient alien ruins, working your way through new narrative threads and embarking on new personal adventures as well.

So you won’t just be uncovering the mysteries of the Guardians with your buddies, exploring the detritus of a forgotten civilisation, you’ll be able to unlock a personal narrative while you’re on these adventures, discovering weird tech. What this tech does remains a mystery that you’ll have to figure out next year.


It might not be as immediately exciting as some of the other parts of the update, but the upcoming GalNet improvements have especially piqued my interest. Simply, GalNet news will have audio, so you can listen to news stories while flitting through space instead of taking your eye off the ball so you can read them.

Frontier have also promised that the galaxy will become a richer, more lively place, with new anomalies and phenomenon to hunt for and discover. These discoveries will be added to a Codex, which will serve as an encyclopedia. New mining tools and challenges are being introduced, as well, with Frontier wanting to evoke the feeling of Wild West prospecting.

It sounds like the scope of these updates is just as large as Horizons, but while that season required you to drop some cash, Beyond will be free to everyone who bought Horizons. It will be split up into two major content updates in quarter one and quarter four, with smaller updates between them. But before this all kicks off next year, there’s still update 2.4 to look forward to. It’s already started, but updates will continue in the coming weeks. Check out the teaser below.


  1. Antongranis says:

    I wanted to like this game more then i did, but its just feels so empty, with no reason to care about anything other then money.
    I enyoyed the 10 or so hours i played but i am not hungry for more.

    • Herring says:

      You’re right, but I play it loads. If you want standard game progression it’s very lacking. There’s only a few ways to progress, most require grinding and there’s no real requirement for many of them.


      The flight-model, sense of place and realisation of an “accurate” galaxy are second to none. I love just jumping in and flying about, even just shipping peeps or cargo. Docking, landing, skimming the planets, exploring, fighting in asteroid fields are _still_ cool even after a few years of me playing it.

      I’m happy to pick it up and play here and there and do whatever I fancy. I think if you want a more story / progression driven, intense 30-40 hour experience you might be disappointed though.

      • Anti-Skub says:

        That sense of a real galaxy is absolutely destroyed for me by the horrible video-gamey way every real space location is instanced, with AI NPCs randomly spawning in and out in a way that doesn’t even come close to believable. Or the way that when you fly towards a planet, you get this shitty, obvious loading screen where your ship stops dead in the sky, then starts moving again when the planet has loaded.

        It absolutely destroys any enjoyment I could have had from immersion.

        And as for the flight model…it’s fine, but for a game like Elite I would have much preferred something less fake feeling. The complete lack of any kind of gravity in space, the arbitrary speed limits, and the completely illogical way that ships turn more slowly when not moving, for example, just isn’t good enough.

        • montorsi says:

          You’re quite sure you’re playing Elite, friend? Nothing you’ve described matches up with my experience.

          • Kapouille says:

            He is absolutely right about the flight model. It is however a deliberate decision, driven mostly by the way collision detection breaks as the speed differential between game entities increase. It would change dramatically the feel of the game from a WWII airplane-like dogfighting like Star wars to long range strategy more akin to modern sea/air warfare.

        • laiwm says:

          It totally makes sense for a ship at rest to turn more slowly – when the engines are on it can use thrust gimbaling to turn faster, without the engines it’s just RCS.

          By lack of gravity I assume you mean orbital mechanics? It’d be neat to see, but the only effect it would have on gameplay would be to make flight near planets feel weird – nobody’s going to travel around using Hohmann transfers.

          • Nogo says:

            RCS should have much more impact on rotation than engine gimbaling.

        • corvo says:

          “Or the way that when you fly towards a planet, you get this shitty, obvious loading screen where your ship stops dead in the sky, then starts moving again when the planet has loaded.”

          Oh yeah, they should instead have everything loaded already so that everyone without a super high end computer lags.
          Or better yet have an actual loading screen! I’m sure that wouldn’t break the flow.

    • laiwm says:

      Same, I really enjoy being in the ship but I’m a little bit lost as to what to do in it – the lure of bigger numbers just isn’t enough. If they add a proper storyline to follow I could get back into it though.

      • Antongranis says:

        Oh yeah, a freespace 2 style campaign would be fantastic!

        • SuicideKing says:

          honestly my dream open-galaxy space sim would basically be FreeSpace 1&2 set in an E:D style open galaxy.

          So you play through the last year of the terran-vasudan war, and then encounter the shivans in a random encounter in Ross 128. So trade etc would continue but then the dynamic of the Terran-Vasudan conflict and economy being player driven and how they respond to the shivan invasion would be interesting to see.

          Of course GTA and PVN high commands would continue to be NPC/game driven, so that the GTVA can form, but the story would be tied to stuff like players discovering sites of Ancients, doing research etc. in order to defeat the lucifer or develop shields, among other things.

          The expansion would then introduce the event chain of FreeSpace 2 and the NTF.

    • Artist says:

      Its indeed amazing how fantastically they bolted down the style and feeling of the flight/combat-system but failed so badly at the meta game-mechanics. Also kind of funny how they camoflaged e.g. the grind for standing by replacing the nunbers with progress bars. Well, could be funny if it wouldnt be so sad.

      • Kittim says:

        I agree, I truly hope that with time, things will improve and the game-play becomes a little more in depth than it is at the moment.

        For me the combat system is annoying as hell.
        Shoot a good guy by accident and woe betide you, instantly on a kill list. If you survive long enough to get out of dodge, it changes to fine.

        Sorry, but that’s arse about face.
        What’s wrong with a system of escalation where a accidental shot on a good NPC = a small fine and destroying a good NPC gives you a bounty where your ass is wanted in that system until you pay a large fine or your blown out of the sky?

        It’s ill thought out mechanics like that that I can’t forgive, and stops me playing.

        • Asurmen says:

          Well, it isn’t true that you’re instantly on the kill list. There is a certain amount of forgiveness built into the system, and there has been for some time now. You can have stray hits on friendlies, and not immediately go wanted. At the end of the day, fire discipline is your own responsibility.

          As for the rest of your post, that’s precisely how the system currently works. You get fines that escalate and remain until you’re destroyed or paid off.

  2. TotallyUseless says:

    Oh this is a good news. Of the three big space games, ED, NMS, and StarCitizen, only ED delivered on its promise, and it’s getting more content, albeit NMS is gaining ground fast.

    Just jumped back on ED over the weekend to explore some more space, really love those planets up close and those freaking sound effects, damn!

    Excited for the new contents. Now if only ED would recognize its place and stop milking its playerbase with those freaking skin packs. Come on now, ED is basically EuTS2 on space and EuTS2 have non $$ skins.

    Well at least that’s how I play it and I’m finding fun with ED despite its greedy approach for skins.

    • Artist says:

      No Mans Sky is “one of the three big space games” for you? Erm, sorry? NMS is dead in the water since its release and Eve is definatly the way bigger beast. Star Citizen isnt even a game. Yet.

      • montorsi says:

        To be fair, NMS has been patched a ton since release. I haven’t played it since shortly after release but “dead in the water” does not quite match up with the facts.

      • laiwm says:

        NMS isn’t for everyone, but I’d definitely consider it one of the top 3 along with Elite and Eve. They’re just for different types of players – Elite nails the ship-feel but asks the player to make their own fun, Eve is incredibly in-depth and accordingly intimidating, and NMS is a more arcadey take on galactic exploration that sort of sits between the 2.

      • DrJ3RK says:

        Personally, I would say that NMS is the current top of the three actually. It has the largest universe, the widest variety of things to do, the most freedom in how you play, and the quickest and most steady stream of improvements and expansions. As mentioned above my response, it is a bit more arcade-like, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. If you’re into a more (but still not quite) Simulation style, then sure, maybe E:D might be a bit more to your taste.

        It seems people are still bashing NMS just to do it, without much knowledge of how it actually plays currently.

        I like Elite Dangerous. It’s a pretty nice game, and getting better all the time, but at a much slower rate. I also like what’s there of Star Citizen. I have a decent ship for that, and pop in to see what’s new occasionally. It’s impressive, but I’m not expecting a full game to play for some time.

        No Man’s Sky though, I can hop in at will, find something new, try something new, explore, create, hop back out again, and feel like I did something besides transport an object from one place to another.

    • Anti-Skub says:

      If you consider EDs competition to be a laughing stock and an unreleased game…then yeah, not wonder it looks like the best one to you. For me what ED has to beat is the original Elite, and games like X-Wing Alliance or Freespace. Compared to those games ED is hot garbage.

      I’m also not one for getting hyped about games that aren’t out yet, but having played bits and pieces of SC and watched what some of their content looks like…and even with some wobbly bits in the game (SCs flight model isn’t great as it stands) it still feels like more of a game than Elite does after over a year of paid DLCs.

      • montorsi says:

        Ah, bags on Elite and praises SC. Your posts make sense now.

        • Borreh says:

          “Praises”? His comment was very toned-down and had a fair share of criticism of SC (which it deserves, e.g. I’m not a fan of the flight model myself) but focused on Elite first and foremost, and I agree. Elite is a great prototype that forces you to find your own fun and SC’s thus far showcased more worthwile content in its alpha stage than Elite years after release.

          And yes, it’s playable, and no, I didn’t spend a penny on SC.

          • Archonsod says:

            Being a true sandbox was always why the Elite series stood out from the competition. Really if your main complaint is that you’re “forced” to find your own fun then it’s probably not the kind of game you’re ever going to enjoy in the first place.

          • Borreh says:

            That’s the argument I always read and I cringe. I AM a huge sanbox/open-ended gameplay fan and enjoyed space sims for years. But there’s a fine line between being “open ended” and being a boring slog with nothing to do.

            But there’s no arguing with the E:D community because whenever someone criticizes the game the main line of defense is “it’s not for you go play CoD”.

      • Asurmen says:

        There’s way more to experience and do than in the original Elite.

        • Jay Load says:

          How does E:D stack up against Oolite and Frontier: First Encounters?

          • Alberto says:

            Elite Dangerous has no autopilot, and relies on an annoying constant fine tuning mechanic (don’t even think of alt-tab or even check the spacemaps while in transit!) that becomes specially unbearable when you’re traversing large dual systems.

            This and many other small things amounted to a big good reason to stop playing, even if I love space games and loved First Encounters buggy, broken game.

            But if you can find a good sale, it’s ok to spend a few hours into it, I guess.

          • Asurmen says:

            Auto pilot won’t work with interdiction mechanics.

            You absolutely can alt tab out even over short trips across a system. I do it all the time. The only time you shouldn’t is if you’re fuel scooping.

  3. Faldrath says:

    I’m not particularly interested in the co-op stuff since I only play Elite in solo mode, but the more the galaxy is fleshed out, the better.

    Regarding the lack of story-driven content, it’s a valid complaint but Elite works pretty well as a big sandbox. Right now I’m “role-playing” an explorer/historian, intent on mapping out the traditional constellations. After I’m done with that, I’ll “retire”, buy an Orca (basically a spacebus) and make a living ferrying people in the inhabited systems. But by then perhaps the Thargoid threat will demand me to dust off my beam lasers… who knows?

    Point being: you can paint on Elite’s canvas, even if no one else can see your painting.

    • Shiloh says:

      Point being: you can paint on Elite’s canvas, even if no one else can see your painting.

      Nicely put, I feel the same way about Elite. In fact, I really enjoy just pottering about – recently got back from a 2Kly explore, currently running a few trade missions just to recharge, going back out into the black soon.

      By the end of 2018, all being well, my two biggest issues (that there’s not enough mystery out there, and that the mechanics of planetary exploration could do with a buff) should be a thing of the past. In the meantime, I’ll carry on exploring, ferrying tourists around, and trading, and I’ll be very happy so doing.

    • mitrovarr says:

      I dunno, I found the ED universe to be incredibly boring. There’s no sense that any of it is different – even the human inhabited bits all feel the same, and they shouldn’t. You can fly around and see some pretty sights and figure out which part of the star systems was pulled out of astronomy databases and which was procedurally generated, but you know there will never be anything interesting in any of them. You can have fun for a while in the fairly well implemented space combat, but there’s never a point to it except making numbers go up.

      What it feels like to me is taking an old space sim game like Starflight or Star control 2, then removing all of the interesting alien species and artifacts and plot and leaving nothing but the grind and a bunch of empty, meaningless stars and rocks. A total waste of potential, sacrificed to make it a kinda-sorta MMO.

  4. gabrielonuris says:

    It hurts me to admit, but I give up on Elite. It’s not a bad game, I’ve sunk 67 hours in it, but let’s be honest: it will always be the most realized, best made tech demo ever.

    Frontier has a hell of an engine in their hands, and I only hope that in their next space game they actually make a GAME, with a proper campaign, a decent save system and some cutscenes. Because why the hell not.

    • mitrovarr says:

      Yeah, seriously. They need to stop making gameplay features and spend the money hiring a team of artists and wrtiers to make space interesting. Just a b couple of paragraphs and a picture for each space station would go a huge distance into making the universe feel like an actual place.

      • Asurmen says:

        What do you mean by the paragraphs and pictures?

        As usual, I feel I should point out that you can add gameplay features and QoL stuff at the same time.

  5. geldonyetich says:

    Though I’ve been fairly critical about Elite: Dangerous, I’ve never truly given up on Frontier to add to the game what it lacks: a compelling long-term reason to play; that magical, possibly illegal spice of an MMORPG that keeps people good and running on the treadmill. Even EVE Online managed to do that, and they did so with spreadsheets, of all things.

    It has been long in coming, but it seems to me that Frontier is approaching it from a slow, incremental progress standpoint. It’s a philosophical standpoint that, if it works, should assure a stronger ideological base than simply adding more things to grind for. Fortunately, it seems they have managed to garner fans enough that the game stays afloat. But I do hope Frontier delivers that hook soon, lest they starve.

    My random staggering about the Internet took me to a Twitch channel where I watched the Frontier livestream, and I find myself adequately hyped. Elite: Dangerous still has potential. Looking forward to checking out the specs on the Type-10 soon. Looking forward to seeing what their idea of a “narrative” is.

  6. Dogshevik says:

    Ah, Elite. An entertaining simulation but such a horrible game.

    It fails as a sandbox, since nothing you do lasts.
    It fails as a MMO because of instancing and no way or reason to interact with others.
    It fails as an RPG because the procedurally generated content is quickly exhausted. Even coop can´t save it.
    It fails as a competetive game because you can influence faction play while playing in solo.

    You can do two things in elite. Enjoy flying your space truck and watch youtube videos about how louder, more obnoxious players do the whole story progression for you.

  7. Cloak says:

    I’m really sick of seeing these developers throw around the word “Free” as if we should be the ones grateful. When in fact they should be grateful because we are the ones that paid them to be entitled to play their game and anything that comes along with it like updates. But not including the “expansions packs” ofc. *Roll eyes*

    But if we really look at this game, it’s just a Early access game without the tags with Early access “expansion”.

    This game should of just been a F2P with the amount of microtransactions in it. Maybe then we could take in this “Free” update and be grateful for it.

    Oh yeah I didn’t read the article btw I’m going off the title. Then again what is else there to read about elite dangerous? We already know it’s a big empty boring “simulator” with not much to do in it.

    I really hope Star Citizen comes through so it can murder this game.

    • Asurmen says:

      You’re not entitled to anything for starters.

      If you’re not going to read and then complain that it’s empty and boring, why bother posting?

      • Cloak says:

        If it’s empty and boring then why even bother replying?

      • Cloak says:

        And you’re right I’m not “entitled”. It was a poor choice of a word.

      • Cloak says:

        And to answer your question. Because I can! So bite me!

  8. racccoon says:

    This is the only game from that time that I couldn’t get a refund on, So i still have it, I have not played it for a long time since as I hate that bloody sun in your face all time & the stupid lines you got to follow! lol
    The only great achievement this game ever did was the launch pad, un-docking & docking procedures, brilliant that’s it though! The rest was such a bore.
    I don’t really want to download it again to see if it has improved, just seeing the videos shows the procedures are the same.

    • Asurmen says:

      The sun is only in your face when you enter a system.

      What lines are you talking about?

      You can say the same about most games. Basic procedures are rarely if ever completely replaced.

  9. aerolus says:

    wait so “for free” but you have to use real money to buy elite dangerous, same for horizons, then use in game money to buy fleet carriers