The Return: 1.9 & 2.4

Updated: 20th December 2017

The 1.9 & 2.4 update was released on the 26th September 2017. It is the final release in the Horizons season of Elite: Dangerous. Unlike previous releases content will be rolled out alongside the ongoing Thargoid narrative, so not all the content is available on initial release.

> Background & Trailers

Frontier have released two short trailers for the game followed by the official cinematic trailer called ‘Commander Chronicles: Retaliation’.

Earlier trailers.

Trailer for Thargoids attacking stations – 14th December 2017

Frontier commented,

“Previously we’ve held live streams on the run up to our releases, featuring details all about the features in the update. However, due to the nature of this update we wouldn’t want to spoil the narrative or interactions that the community will have so we won’t be broadcasting these reveal streams in the build up to the upcoming beta for 2.4. We’ll still keep things going with small sneak peeks here and there, but largely we really want you to discover 2.4’s secrets for yourself. After release, we’ll be hosting streams that focus on the narrative, explaining what our Commanders are discovering, explaining how you can get involved and hinting at things to come.

“Although you won’t see them in the beta, from day one after 2.4’s final release the Thargoids will make their return. We can’t wait to see your interactions with the most mysterious and terrifying things you’ll have seen in the Elite Dangerous galaxy to date. The dev team have put a lot of love in to 2.4 and we can’t wait to share that hard work with you.”


“The Return will play out differently to previous releases in Elite Dangerous: Horizons, with content and story beats affecting all Commanders releasing in the months following its initial release.

“As a story-centric update, showing too much ahead of time would spoil the surprise and make for a lesser experience for the community. We want The Return to surprise and shock you as much as possible, but that said, you can expect for further reveals and information about the future of Elite at various community and gaming events throughout the year, such as the upcoming Lavecon.


“Thargoids will put us on the back foot. Human technology is made to defeat other humans, not Thargoids. A few new things, that might be surprising, fun and very challenging and we hope you relish the challenge. It won’t just be Thargoids with new weapons. It will mark a new way of doing things. There will be narrative feeds and changes as it goes along. It is an exciting change for us to see how it pans out.”

David Braben did a short piece to camera about the Thargoids and their history. You can see this below.


Content marked with a + signifies Horizons only.

Note: Only the major changes are listed here and as mentioned above many features of 2.4 are not listed due to the nature of the release.

For the full patch notes, please see here


New Locations

  • Mysterious locations added.

New Ship

The Type-10 Defender variant was introduced to the game on the 20th December 2017.


At Lavecon 2017 Frontier announced a few new updates coming with 2.4. These can be seen below:

  • ‘A suite of weapons, modules and devices’ that will be used against the Thargoids:


Synthesis can now create:

  • Heat sinks
  • Chaff,
  • Limpets
  • Top up life support

Repair Limpets

Repair limpets can now be used to fix your for hull/canopy. (to be used on yourself or other ships)

A hull repair limpet in operation

Updated Route Plotting

Various changes to the route plotting system have been made.

  • Maximum route plotting range is now 20Kly
  • Route plotting is much faster
  • Option to make use of neutron star boost when plotting routes
  • Icon on route to show the last scoopable star before running out of fuel
Changes to Route Plotting

UI Improvements

There have been changes to the inbox which will give a slightly different look and feature some quality of life improvements.

Search & Rescue Agents

Frontier have added new and improved salvage scenarios added to support search and rescue gameplay as well as making salvage commodities legal to pick up from wreck sites (although they will still appear illegal if dropped by ships as that is not salvage).

Search & Rescue Agent contact and also a Science & Research Contact.
Search & Rescue Agent missions look to be a part of 2.4 and look like featuring multi-part quests to collect various items from crashed/lost ships.
Screenshot showing the completion of a search and rescue mission.

  • Improvements to salvageable wreckage and occupied cryopods:


  • New Chained Missions – Which can be longer than two steps
  • Follow-on missions can include more data about previous missions in the chain
  • Added support for missions allocating additional rewards based on station distance from the jump-in point
  • Added support for missions allocating additional rewards based on station distance from the jump-in point
  • Changes to the way missions are generated which will mean a greater number and variety available from the missions board. See comments here.

Changes to Crime & Punishment:

  • Ship Re-buy Penalty – When a player commits the crime of murder (PvP only), an additional cost is added if they swap to a less expensive ship before paying legal costs during the rebuy flow.
  • Pilot’s Federation Bounty – When a player commits the crime of murder (PvP only), they receive an additional Pilot’s Federation Bounty. This bounty is valid in every jurisdiction except anarchies.
  • Federation bounties – If you attack a Player (not NPC) you also get a Pilots Federation Bounty, in addition to any normal bounty, which is valued everywhere.
  • Pay-off re-buy costs and fines with other ships – wherever you have them.


  • Music system – This has been replaced and the existing music should behave exactly as before. It is now much more maintainable and enjoyable to use
  • Radio chatter – The radio chatter system works differently under the hood now, enabling Frontier to do “cool magic chatter” based things in the future. Existing chatter lines should function the same as before (around star ports and planet ports).
  • Flight controllers – This system also works differently now to be far more flexible and pave the way for future awesomes.

Holo-Me +

  • Added save slots for different Commander appearances in the Holo-Me system
  • Added 12 new hairstyles
  • Added slots for Eyewear and Outfits


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