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Elite Dangerous fleet carriers are live now

Fleet carriers have been officially brought over to Elite Dangerous proper, following their two beta tests over the last few months.

Judging by the announcement they’ll work much as they did during the second beta, effectively giving players their own space station to dock up to 16 ships at. They can be moved around the galaxy (though not piloted) by burning expensive tritium fuel, potentially up to 500 light years at a time.

I remain doubtful that they’ll make much difference to most players. Which isn’t something I enjoyed saying last month. But I also speculated that they were intended partly as groundwork for next year’s big expansion. Since then, Frontier have revealed that said expansion, now titled Odyssey, will be about clomping about on the surface of planets on foot, as an explorer or for fighting FPS battles. Perhaps the fleet carriers will slot into those systems better than they do the game’s existing ones.

In any case, players who have a less lukewarm reaction to the fleet carriers can buy one for keeps from today, assuming they’ve saved up a hefty 5 billion spacequid plus the tens of millions in weekly maintenance for whatever services you enable on board. That upfront cost gets refunded if you decommission it, so there’s room to back out later if you’re on the fence.

Less wealthy players will probably find the carriers of other players handy now and then, since they can be opened to the public for use as a market, shipyard, or exploration data registry. They could potentially be a pretty convenient pop up shop if placed in the right spot.

Otherwise, it’s a humdrum update offering little more than bugfixes. The exception, however, is an update to CQC, the PvP deathmatch mode. It’ll now be possible to queue for matches from within the main game, instead of having to log out and back in and then sit around waiting. You can view the full patch notes here.

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