Elite Dangerous reveals the mysteries of its Thargoid Maelstrom anomalies in next update
Update 15 brings new tools, new enemies and new missions
After being invaded by Thargoids at the end of last year, Elite Dangerous is now letting its players fight back in its next update. Update 15 introduces a new tool to help players finally get inside the mysterious Thargoid Maelstrom clouds that have been cropping up across the galaxy ever since the invasion began last November. However, there are also new enemy classes and Thargoid vessels to encounter, and one in particular - the Hunter-class Glaive - looks very nasty indeed.
"In Update 15, we want to heighten the stakes of the Thargoid war, and really showcase the Thargoid's ability to bio-engineer solutions to their problems," Frontier Development's lead game designer Luke Betterton says of the new Glaive vessel.
The Glaive is a hyper aggressive vessel that can shutdown a commander's ability to escape, he continues, and will present a "challenge that players won't have been able to see coming." Players will likely have to adapt their existing space combat strategies, as well as their current loadouts, to take them down. Betterton stresses that the Glaive "is not the hardest ship that anyone's had to fight 1v1," but it will require different tactics to the current crop of Interceptors and Scout Thargoid ships, so you'll need to make sure you're prepared before you head out. "Running away from it is not an option," he says.
There's also a new on-foot mission arriving with Update 15, although this, too, has its own Thargoid threat to deal with. It will involve restoring power to an abandoned settlement deep in Thargoid territory, and can be activated from any port or station in a state of alert on the frontlines of the invasion, or systems that have already been enveloped by said invasion.
Of course, with your main task being to restore that settlement's power, a lot of your time will be spent crawling around in the dark, making it extra spooky when you encounter the new, searchlight-esque Thargoid Revenants. They look quite similar to the Scavenger enemies players will have encountered previously, but if they spot you, you're in trouble. They're much more heavily armoured than the Scavengers, they move faster and they'll work in groups with other Revenants to eliminate threats to their territory, which naturally includes you. Senior producer Samantha Marsh says stealth is a good option to tackle these, but hopping into an SRV vehicle of some kind can also be a handy way of countering their homing laser fire. Again, preparation will be key. "Approaching them on foot is a very different story," she warns. "You can absolutely sign me up to run and hide, that's my strategy."
Update 15 isn't going to be the end of the Thargoid war story, however. It's "far from over," Marsh says. Rather "the conflict is evolving with Update 15," and she goes on to tease that the Maelstroms themselves will also hold plenty of surprises inside them as well. "What's inside is absolutely enormous and is a huge game changer that we've been planning for a very long time," she says, but you'll have to wait until Tuesday May 9th at 3pm BST when Update 15 launches to find out exactly what it is.
Elite Dangerous is available now on Steam and the Epic Games Store for £20/€25/$30, although the on-foot missions will only be available to those who also own the Odyssey expansion.