Elite Dangerous is now four years old somehow, or five if you count the various betas. In that time, it's gone from impossible promise (ah, those halcyon 2012 Kickstarter days) to absolute bedrock of modern PC gaming, what with its blend of solo noodling about, lethal PVP sandbox and slow-burn, community-driven storytelling. Whether it's quite what we expected a new Elite game to be half a decade ago is an enduring question, but by this point it's very much its own game, including embracing the 'Seasons' concept that's so hot right now (er, again for about five years). Season 3, 'Beyond' is kicking off at the end of this month, with a headline wordcount-challenging update named Elite Dangerous: Beyond - Chapter One.
It introduces a whole mess of changes, including new types of ship and traders, revisions to crime and the punishment thereof and an overhauled mission system.
Here trailer here:
That's a lot of flash and space-noise, so you'll be wanting some actual details, I imagine. 'Beyond' is the umbrella name for a bunch of updates that will span this year, with 'chapter 1' due for release on Feb 27. Its headline features include:
- A new pilotable and purchasable ship, the Alliance Chieftan, which is designed to be super-manoeuvrable but without being a combat lightweight.
- Revisions to the oft-griped about mission system, including much more in the way of co-op objectives and a choice of rewards (credits, reputations or commodities)
- You can now see trade data from previously-visited systems, without having to schlepp all the way back over there to work out whether you'll get a good price for your hold full of weevils or whatever. Also a slew of new market tools to work out what needs or sells what, where. I.e. they've just upgraded ED's space-internet.
- Improvements and more variety to planet surfaces - good news for explorers.
- Something of a rethink for crime and lawn enforcement, including criminal charges being associated with ships rather than pilots but pilots now having a Notoriety stat that effects ship rebuy costs. Plus! Space Jail, being sent to which necessitates either paying off your fines and bounties or being declared bankrupt and winding up with just a Sidewinder Mk1.
- New Traders, for Materials and Technology
- A text-to-speech reader for GalNet reports.
And a whole lot more, a partial rundown of which is here. That's all due out on Feb 27, and is free to anyone who already owns the Horizons edition of Elite Dangerous.