Elite Dangerous: Beyond hits open beta this month

Boldly-going space sim Elite Dangerous is due to start its third season of updates, named Beyond, by the end of March but spacefolks will be able to check it out a bit early. Frontier Developments have announced an open beta test for Beyond: Chapter One will begin on January 25th, inviting all players to check out its additions and kick ’em around to see if they break. New features in it include objective-driven Wing Missions for squads, prettier planets, a new warship, and changes to mission rewards as well as crime and punishment. Oh, and those ↑ alien cuties are coming.

We looked more at overall plans for the Beyond update last year, so what’s in this particular beta?

Wing Missions will add a little purpose, having folks team up to tackle objectives (which offer rewards, obvs). The Alliance Chieftain is a honking great new warship. Players will get access to more trade data too, able to see data from systems they’ve previously visited so they can better plan business. And Frontier will enact the first step of their plan to pretty-up planets, resulting in things like this sweetheart:

As for the rest, Frontier say:

“Chapter One also features a range of game-improving updates, including changes to the engineering mechanics, an overhaul of mission rewards, and an altered crime and punishment system. The open beta will also allow commanders to fly a new Alliance warship: the Chieftain. Additionally, GalNet Audio will allow players to catch up on the galaxy’s latest news without ever leaving the action, bringing the ongoing narrative to the foreground at a dangerous moment for humanity’s pilots.”

More details on crime and engineering are to come, Frontier say.

Also, those lovely Thargoid Scout ships are coming. Crashed ones have been found before but, going by the open beta, the ones coming now are very much alive.

While the beta will be open to base Elite Dangerous players, some bits will be unavailable if they don’t also own the Horizons expansion. January 25th.

29 Comments

  1. BadCatWillum says:

    Frontier have a dual-pronged approach this year – a clear roadmap for content that is free to owners of the base game and Horizons, and undisclosed releases, that will be paid in some form. Seems to me like this is a good way to keep existing players informed and maintain enough surprises to make news throughout the year, but it must be ‘fun’ to manage such a complex release schedule, and I wonder how the model for the paid content will go down when it becomes public.

  2. morganjah says:

    I would pay to not have to manually dock every time. The one thing in VR that makes me sick…

    • Captain Narol says:

      Wait, there was an autodocking feature (through a module you had to buy) in the original Elite !!

      Are you saying there isn’t such a thing anymore in Elite Dangerous ???

      • Awkward_Seppuku says:

        There totally is.

      • Mr_Day says:

        The docking computer is still in the game, and it plays Blue Danube Waltz every time you use it.

        • morganjah says:

          No kidding! How do I acquire one? My skills mostly consist of flying around looking at the scenery until I get blown up.
          In the game too.

          • clonex10100 says:

            Go to outfitting. You should be able to fit it into one of your optional component slots.

          • ezelkow1 says:

            ^
            You may not be able to find it everywhere, but probably in any high-tech system. I think its only a 1 (maybe 2) slot item so it doesnt take much room unless you have a really specific build-out

            I always equip my ships with it just to make jumping from place to place that much easier

            Also while it works like 90% of the time, it can have mishaps, so you still have to watch out. Once I had it send me full speed straight in to a station wall. Last night while using it on a planet it just had me scraping the roof of all the buildings in the habitat. They are few and far between but can happen

          • morganjah says:

            I realized it was because I am still in the tutorials. A year or so after buying the game. I tried the advanced combat tutorial again. Without ever figuring out where Joystick 11 button might be, and therefore never successfully even starting combat, I somehow heated up and eventually exploded.
            I had forgotten how Elite Dangerous has by far the worst tutorial ever put in…I was about to say game, but really anything.

          • Asurmen says:

            Are you saying you didn’t take a look at the bindings? How is that the game’s fault?

          • Denis Ryan says:

            You can safely skip the advanced combat tutorial, it’s tough even for veterans.

          • Titler says:

            Replying here, because for some reason the posts below don’t give the option…

            You over-heated? That’s likely one of two things; you went into Silent Running, and didn’t turn it off again. That’s the S key. Or you were firing lasers long after you should have stopped. Stop firing lasers to solve that.

            Regarding Key bindings, in the main game, you have the option to set a Launch Check List which will ask you to test all the core commands before you can take off. It probably should have been in a tutorial, so you knew what the keys were before you tried to take them on, but well that’s Frontier for you.

            Combat is actually rather easy when you get your head around it. Move the throttle into the blue bar for maximum turn rate.

            The radar center screen shows where they are. The V shape is your forward view. If the line of the enemy ship is above the disc of the radar, they’re above you. If the line is to your left/right, rotate until its center, then nose up/down until it’s now in the V.

            When targeted, they’ll have 3 triangles, and the solid one is where their nose is pointing. Rotate now you can see it, so its nose is pointing up or down your screen. You do this to stay in the same direction of travel as them.

            Then just keep pitching up and down when they do, rotating when they try and turn, and try and keep them just above your nose.

            Energy management just means moving points into shields, then over to weapons until you have enough to fire a reasonable amount of time. You won’t need engine management against the AI. By the time you get big enough to be out-turned, you’ll have enough guns to flatten them.

            And that’s it, unless you get into PvP and then will need every trick in the book.

          • KDR_11k says:

            Without knowing your joystick there’s no telling what button 11 is, aren’t they normally labelled? If you’re using a console controller that might be clicking one of the analog sticks.

          • morganjah says:

            Thanks for the advice. I must have been in silent running because I never fired any weapons. I had the throttle at zero too.
            It’s a little challenging trying to figure out the buttons on the HOTAS with the VR mask on. I probably hit whatever button silent running is while trying to scan the target.
            Maybe I need to get used to the HOTAS in non-VR before I cruise around in VR.
            I really just want to putter around in space. Maybe plant some space tomatoes. Play some space shuffleboard. Occasionally chase kids off my space-lawn.
            Anyhow, thanks for the very useful advice! I’ll try it again this evening.

          • DiscordCabbage says:

            I’ll add on here to say that the advanced combat tutorials are more like challenges. You should start the game and get familiar with it before trying those, and even then, they’re just for bragging rights, really.

          • theremin says:

            (Also replying to the wrong post for nesting reasons) –

            It’s definitely easier to set up and get used to your bindings outside VR, but it can still take a while for them to feel natural.

            This tool can generate a cheat sheet from your config file to remind you: link to mcdee.net

            Alternatively just use VoiceAttack for the less frequently-used functions (there should be a 21-day free trial so you can see if you like it).

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      Docking is the best thing in VR! Just so cool to thread the eye of the space station and land at speed.

  3. nitric22 says:

    I think I’ll come back to Elite this year for a spell. I didn’t love or hate it when I first played it. In fact, I’m pretty sure the 25-30 hours I have in the game basically count as a tutorial, as I understood docking, scooping fuel, and basic piloting at that point. So, back to square one basically. That said, I’m excited to come back to a game with some added content. I might even give them some more money for expansion stuff.

  4. Asurmen says:

    Hopefully the idea of the Codex will make it into this first release.

    *Edit: No it bloody well isn’t. Annoying.

  5. low_self_esteem says:

    Alice, i’ve sent an article pitch to you folks a couple of weeks ago but had no reply. Are you still accepting those? Maybe i’m just a bad pitcher, but a reply would be wonderful (even a simple ‘nope) so pitchers would know the e-mail didn’t end up on a spam filter and stuff :(

    The e-mail subject was: How Deus Ex Got Manking Right (On A Side Quest)

  6. nottorp says:

    Is this the one that promised to be Elite/Privateer but ended up a clone of Eve? Or the one that promised to be Elite/Privateer and is basically stuck in spite of all the money they’re burning through?

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