Beyond: Chapter 4 – Beta Announced

On the 15th October at 2pm Frontier announced the details of the Beta for Beyond: Chapter 4 along with a short promo trailer. The details can be seen below. Other web pages on this site will be updated to reflect this and any further news. You can see the full details on the official site here, or below including the trailer.


“Hello Commanders,

“With much anticipation, we’re pleased to announce that the beta for Chapter Four will be available to all PC Elite Dangerous and Elite Dangerous: Horizons players on Tuesday 30 October!

“In order to focus the public testing on specific aspects of Chapter Four, we will be unlocking different content over a number of different weeks. You can find out the schedule that content will be added to the beta here:

beta4info

“We are expecting beta milestones to go live on the Tuesday of each week. However, we will update you in the News and Announcement forums as each update is made available.

“As always we welcome your feedback on our dedicated beta and bug report forums. These reports, and the data provided, by these beta tests are incredibly valuable and useful in the development of Elite Dangerous. You can find a breakdown of Chapter Four’s features below:

Exploration

“The Analysis Mode with the improved Exploration Discovery Scanner and Detailed Discovery Scanner, is a game-changing, brand new way for all Commanders to explore the Milky Way galaxy. After the initial scan of the system, you will then be able to tune your scanners to find stellar bodies and other phenomena. Unidentified Signal Sources and conflict zones will also appear as dotted lines within this mode, allowing you to easily track down interesting or important things within the system. Not only is this new system a more realistic, satisfying and engaging exploration experience, but now you will be able to make more informed decisions on where to look next, and you will be more rewarded for your time spent exploring. Commanders will now have probes at their disposal to map the planetary surfaces, and planetary rings, in detail, to locate points of interest and leave your mark on the galaxy in a different way.

“All of the above, in addition to the new in-game codex where Commanders will see a new way of recording their findings in both a collaborative and individual way, are just a few things coming with the changes to exploration. We’re barely scratching the surface here with the changes to exploration, so make sure to tune in to the livestream on 18 October, to find out more.

Mining

“Asteroid belts and planetary rings are about to get very busy. New tools and mechanics will provide a fresh, exciting and lucrative mining experience for all Elite Dangerous Commanders. Using new exploration mechanics, miners can investigate rings to locate the best spots to start their mining sessions, and then the best specific asteroids to probe and excavate for rewards. With the right amount of skill and expertise, the new Abrasion blaster, Sub-surface displacement missile, and Seismic charge launcher, will provide some exciting and explosive results.

“Want to go deeper with these features and learn more about mining? Tune in to the livestream on 1 November, to find out more.

Squadrons

“Squadrons is a new in-game way of uniting like-minded Commanders to support factions of their choice, take part in Community Goals together and compete for top spots in seasonal leader boards. New communication tools, including in-game chat channels, will help you blaze trails together, and leave your Squadron’s mark on the galaxy.

“Learn more about Squadrons in our livestream on 30 October.

“…and more!

“There’s a number of other huge changes coming to Elite Dangerous, including visual improvements, background simulation updates, and (yet to be revealed) cockpit interface changes, and other features that we can’t wait to tell you about.

“Prior to the introduction of the content on the beta, we’ll be hosting a number of deep-dive livestreams with developer guests, where we showcase the content and you have the chance to voice your questions and comments.

The Chapter Four content reveal livestreams will be on the following dates:
Exploration, Codex and Visual Improvements – 18 October (19:00 BST)
BGS and Scenario Interactions – 25 October (19:00 BST)
Squadrons – 30 October (19:00 GMT)
Mining – 01 November (19:00 GMT)
The Ships – 8 November (19:00 GMT)

“If you’re not able to catch the streams, don’t worry! We will be posting a recap of the all the content unveiled shortly after each livestream.

“We can’t wait to see what you think!”

Lavecon 2018 – Beyond: News

On Saturday the 9th June 2018 Frontier attended the annual Lavecon meet and showcased some features coming in the Beyond Quarter 4 updates, as well as some things coming in the soon to be released Quarter 2 update.

You can see the details covering a large number of additions coming to Quarter 4 by visiting the page here. Changes to Quarter 2 can be seen here.

Focused Feedback – Powerplay Update

On the 1st June at 3:45pm Sandro Sammarco made a brief update to the Powerplay proposals suggested in his original post, here. You can see them below or on the official forum.

“Hello Commanders, a quick update.

“First, thank you once again for your participation in this thread. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

“Clearly the Open Mode question is important, so we want to spend a good amount of time examining all of the options and collecting feedback before we come to any decision. To reiterate, nothing is set in stone. This is still an investigation.

“I will be posting a new, follow up thread next week, I hope you will be able to spare a moment or two to check it out and contribute.”

 

Beyond: Focused Feedback – Powerplay

At 12:58pm on the 15th May 2018 Frontier opened up the feedback forum to possible changes to Power Play. You can see Sandro Sammarco’s suggestions below and contribute to the discussions here. These suggestions will be reflected on the The Future? “It’s on the list….” page in due course.

“Hello Commanders!

“As well as having a good old chew on Squadrons, we’re loading up a side order for the Focused Feedback Forum, because, frankly, we want to get more feedback! Importantly, this is an additional topic and does not replace the line-up announced earlier for Squadrons, Mining and Exploration.

“We’re considering a package of tweaks to Powerplay and we’d like your thoughts on them. Note that this is not a fait accompli, just something we’re investigating.

“The concept behind these changes is not to completely change Powerplay, but address a few important issues as efficiently and nicely as possible. Some of these changes are subtle, others very significant. The idea is that as a whole they form a rounded update that provides improvements to the core experience of Powerplay.

“As a flash topic, this will be the only thread, so all relevant replies can live in it. Please use the headings listed below with your replies to make it easier for us to process the thread, and of course, please remember the golden rule: your replies should be to us only. Feel free to debate with each other in non-sticky threads.

“What we’re looking for are your thoughts as to the ramifications of these changes based on the way you involve yourself in Powerplay, both positive and negative.

“With that in mind:

POWER PLAY PROPOSAL

Preparation Cycle Split

The first half of the cycle is available for preparation
• The second half of the cycle locks the current preparation values and enables voting

Vote to veto preparation

• Each player can vote to veto or support each preparation
• If a preparation ends the cycle with more veto votes than support votes it is removed from preparation
• Voting requires minimum, rolling time spent pledged and active for a power, somewhere into rank 2

Reasoning: these two changes in tandem are meant to make it easier to prevent bad systems from being prepared with minimal effort. Rather than use consolidation, which must be chosen blind in terms of both the final preparation for systems and the final resting place for the consolidation marker, here Commanders are voting on a fixed list and can choose precisely which systems they want to attempt to veto.

Vote to withdraw from system

• Each cycle players can vote on the 5 least profitable systems, to withdraw or support
• At the end of a cycle if a system has more withdraw votes than support votes it is removed from the power’s control
• Voting requires minimum, rolling time spent pledged and active for a power, somewhere into rank 2

Reasoning: currently there is no way to lose a bad control system other than hoping or colluding with opposing powers that it will end up being forced into turmoil. We think this vote is a legible and relatively safe way of allowing powers to shed chaff, as only systems that at a base level would be unprofitable would be eligible for withdrawal.


Profitability modifier applied to votes and preparation successes

• A system’s base profitability modifies preparation votes, withdraw votes and preparation successes
• Votes and successes for profitable systems are increased by a factor of 10

Reasoning: we think this modifier acts as another barrier against internal sabotage, forcing the saboteurs to work many more times harder to get the same effect as a Commander who has the power’s interests at heart.

Guaranteed undermine if 100% more than fortification

• A control system that is undermined by 100% more than the fortification value will be undermined even if the fortification trigger has been successfully met

Reasoning: We feel that Powerplay rules tend towards stagnation and status quo, which is not something we intended. Despite all the effort in the world, a power that fortifies enough, against values set by the game rather than in opposition to attack, can remain safe. This change allows sheer force of effort (or numbers) to guarantee systems end up being undermined, making deficit more likely. And to stop this happening, a power must directly compete against its enemies.

Overhead removal and slight increase to distance cost modifier

• Overhead upkeep costs are removed making a system’s base profitability static
• Distance modifier to upkeep is increased to maintain some sense of expansion “gravity”

Reasoning: Overheads are a way to prevent rampant expansion of powers. However, the cost is very high, as they cause an unavoidable amount of uncertainty when calculating CC at the cycle change, as well as just being another level of complexity. We think it would be better to remove them, increase the distance modifier to upkeep a bit, and live with powers that can expand more, as with the other changes in this package we hope that the result will be much more direct attack and dynamism caused by powers fighting each other.

Ethos Override 

• Ethos is only checked for the control system and the power
• If the power and controlling faction share the same superpower the power is always strong against the faction

Reasoning: this is a fairly straight forward override to ensure that – for example – Federal powers are always strong against federal factions. The other part of this change, to focus ethos on the control system only, is to make the process legible and focus Commanders in the same place, increasing the chance of conflict.

Missions give Powerplay successes

• Missions for factions in a system that share a power’s superpower award a number of Powerplay successes when completed
• The mission type determines how many successes are given
• Successes can be applied to expansion, opposition, fortification and undermining

Reasoning: one of the complaints of Powerplay is the limited actions available to support your power. We think that liking, in a very simple manner, missions for aligned factions and Powerplay successes allows Commanders increased variety in an efficient manner. The idea is not to replace the standard Powerplay activities, but to compliment them.

Open only

For clarity: Open only is being considered for Powerplay. Not anything else. Also, Open only would still be limited to platform, so no instanced crossplay.

• Powerplay contacts are only available to players in open
• Powerplay vouchers and commodities are destroyed if a player enters solo or private groups

Reasoning: We’ve saved the biggest change for last, as making Powerplay Open only goes way beyond the remit of a tweak. We’ve seen this topic discussed many times and we think it’s time we addressed it directly to get as much quality feedback as possible.

Powerplay is fundamentally about consensual player versus player conflict. We think that pretty much all of the systems and rules would benefit from being played out in Open only, as it would dramatically increase the chance of meeting other pledged players and being able to directly affect the outcomes of power struggles.”

Focused Feedback: Squadrons

On Tuesday 8th May Frontier announced the opening of the Focused Feedback Forum for first part of Squadrons discussion. You can find the forum here. If you’ve not read or participated in the Focused feedback before, maybe take a look at the Golden Rule thread first! Below is a rundown of the first part of the discussion on Squadrons.

What is a Squadron?

A Squadron is a group of Commanders who want to band together and organise themselves in-game. This might be to play together, or to focus on certain types of gameplay such as bounty hunting, Community Goals, or perhaps rescuing Commanders who find themselves out of fuel.

The idea of Squadrons is to provide a series of features that support multiplayer organisation and gameplay. In this Focused Feedback forum, we’ll be covering the creation and management of Squadrons.

How do I create a Squadron?

Once Squadrons are introduced they will have their own full screen GUI page. When opening this without having joined a Squadron you will have the option to search for a Squadron to join or to create your own. Creating your own Squadron will involve paying a credit fee (amount to be decided) and then setting the following values.

Squadron name: This has to be a unique name that cannot be changed once the Squadron is created.
Squadron ID: A short ID or tag.
Language: The primary language the Squadron will communicate in.
Attitude: Choose from a pre-set list of attitudes. The list is currently – Relaxed, Family, and Devoted.
Tags: Each Squadron will be able to select a few tags from a wider list. This list includes elements such as “PvP”, “Bounty Hunting” and timezones such as “UTC+3”.
Superpower: Choose one of the following: Empire, Federation, Alliance or Independent.

Our list of tags is a work in progress, what tags would you be keen to see?

Once all of these values have been set and the Commander is happy, the credit fee is paid and the Squadron is created. The Commander who creates the Squadron will be automatically assigned as the Squadron leader.

How do I find/join a Squadron?

As I mentioned previously, if a Commander accesses the Squadron page and is not currently part of Squadron, they will have the option to search for one to join. Using the same fields as listed above the Commander can search by whatever is important to them and will receive a list of Squadrons based on that criteria.

The Commander will be able to look a set of Squadron statistics and use this to decide which Squadron they want to apply to.

Once the Commander finds a Squadron they like, they can send an application. This application will include a small amount of text that, by default, will include some information on the Commander (highest Elite rank, for example) but can also be edited if required.

The Squadron Leader (and Officers) will be able to see a list of all Commander applicants and, at this point, can send the applicants an invite. Both the invitee and inviter must be online at the same time for the invitation to be sent and accepted. This option to invite will also be available on other areas of the HUD where Commanders can select other Commanders, for example a Commander’s friend list.

We are currently considering capping Squadron membership at 250 Commanders, but we’re interested to hear your feedback on the matter.

Can I leave a Squadron?

Commanders can leave a Squadron at any time. If a leader chooses to leave a Squadron then they must pass the leadership mantle onto another Commander. If all members leave a Squadron then it will be disbanded and any assets the Squadron holds will also be lost.

The only time the leader can leave and not pass on the mantle of leader is when they are the last member to leave (and the Squadron is disbanded).

The Squadron hierarchy and privileges.

You may have noticed above that I have referred to both the Squadron Leader and Officers.

There are three classes of Squadron member and these are:

Leader: The Squadron Leader has all privileges and can set which privileges officers have.
Officer: The Officers have whatever privileges the leader has set for them.
Pilot: This is the standard level, and the majority of Squadron members will be pilots. They have whatever privileges the leader has set for them.

What privileges can the leader set?

The Squadron leader can set the following privileges:

  • Officers can invite Commanders into the Squadron (yes/no) (greyed out if new members cannot join)
  • Officers can kick Pilots from the Squadron (yes/no)
  • Officers can plot a jump for a Fleet Carrier (yes/no)
  • Officers can select purchase upgrades for a Fleet Carrier (yes/no)
  • Officers can set the ‘Message of the Day’ (yes/no)

This is the current list of privileges but we expect to add more as development progresses and we discover the need for them!

Squadron communication

One of the most important features that Squadrons adds is the ability for groups of Commanders to communicate with each other. Squadron facilitates this with the following features:

Group Comms – A new feature that will be used by Squadrons is group comms, this will add channels and other functionality to the chat panel. When a Squadron is created, the Squadron channel and the Squadron officer channel (which is only available to Officers and the Leader) are automatically created and any Squadron members are added to the relevant channels. This allows Squadron members to communicate regardless of where they are in the galaxy.

The Feed – The Squadron overview page (which becomes available once a Commander joins a Squadron) will have a list of automated posts that are added to a feed. This feed will provide essential feedback on the Squadron, the fleet carrier and their activities. For example when a player joins the Squadron a message will automatically be added to the feed. The feed is limited to a certain amount of posts (amount TBD). Those members with the correct privileges will also be able to add a message of the day to the feed, the latest message will always remain stickied to the top of the feed. This provides a place for Officers to provides orders for the rest of the Squadron.

We are investigating the possibility of an external Squadrons website. We would love to hear what functionality you would like to see on a Squadrons website.

The Fleet Carrier

As you might have noticed above, it will be possible for Squadrons to possess a Fleet Carrier. We will be devoting an entire Focused Feedback thread to Squadron Fleet Carriers, so please refrain from discussing it at this time.

Squadrons and factions

We are aware that some groups will want to align their Squadron with a faction. We are currently looking at how we can make this work and allow Squadrons to ‘fly the flag’ of a faction. This is something we will be discussing during a latter Focused Feedback thread, so please avoid discussing this for now.

If you don’t know the drill, this is where you come in!

You will see a few more threads regarding Squadrons in the near future.

To keep things sane, we want you to post specific issues that you think of in the issues thread and suggestions in the suggestions and support thread. This is also the place to comment if you feel the feature is in general, an improvement.

If you can think of specific details that are not described but that you think are important, pop these requests in the detail requests thread!

We’ll let this topic stew here for a while, at least a week, but it will very much depend on the feedback.

 

Crime Update

On the 20th April 2018 Sandro Sammarco made a brief post about the ever evolving Crime and Punishment situation in the game:

“A quick update.

“We’re still investigating the option to hand yourself in at starports where you are wanted as an alternative to locating an Interstellar Factors contact, which feels like a decent way to address the issue of folk being caught short in a ship that is unable to leave the system.

“Looking at your feedback, we’re also taking another look at friendly fire, as this seems to be one of the major root causes of displeasure with the legal system.

“We’re considering increasing the tolerance for damage against NPC ships further, including adding the tolerance for unshielded vessels (currently any stray shot that deals damage to a hull triggers the assault crime). We’ve also discovered a potential bug where damage could potentially be counted as targeted even when it isn’t. We’ll keep you updated as we go with this one.

“In addition, we’re also investigating some issues with Notoriety that prevents it from dropping or refreshing correctly. Hopefully we’ll have some good news in the near future.

“Finally, thank you again for all your feedback, it is a tremendous help.”

Beyond: Beta – Q&A

Sandro Sammarco answered a long list of questions regarding both the upcoming Beyond series of updates and the general future of the game. You can see some selected ones below.

Note: There has been no release date given as of yet for 3.0.


Q. Extra module storage?
A. This has now been doubled to 120.

Q. Will SLF’s have outfitting capabilities?
A. Nothing to announce, something they may do at some point but will be done when it fits in the schedule.

Q. Limpet Bay?
A. Frontier are looking at a Limpet controller rack that will store a number of controllers in them.

Q. Tracker limpet?
A. In the big list and very much wanted.

Q. Any chance of being able to change the colours of the HUD display?
A. Not at the moment as it’s a significant amount of work.

Q. Engineer tech brokers weapons?
A. Very likely to happen in Beyond at some point.

Q. Will the Discovery Scanner and surface scanner see updates?
A. Yes, later in 3.0 as part of the exploration update Frontier will look at all of these.

Q. Will ATR Ships become persistent? (ie. they will follow players out of a system)
A. Sandro said this would be looked at, but not until they have seen how ATR operates in the initial release.

Q. Are Frontier looking at using mega-ship interactions in other areas such as capital ships, combat zone and planetary outposts etc.?
A. Yes. Looking at a few areas but no further comment at the moment.

Q. Can Combat zones and RES sites be improved?
A. Yes, these sites will be looked at but these are long term plans.

Q. Will bookmarks be colour coded and see other updates?
A. Yes, these and possible other changes could well come when they introduce the codex later in Beyond.

Q. Changes to Powerplay?
A. They would like to integrate missions into powerplay and have some ideas, but no ETA, guarantees.

Q. Any plans to stop players from permanently boosting their ship engines? (specifically as it’s causing issues during battle)
A. Yes, this will be looked at as it should not be at a loss of tactics during battle.

Q. Will there be further iterations of wing missions?
A. Yes, there will be more wing missions coming.

Q. Changes to smuggling?
A. Yes, but nothing to comment on at the moment.

Q. Will it be possible to re-name engineered modules?
A. It’s on the list.

Q. NPC Crew & Wings?
A. It’s something we want to do, but we need a bunch of other stuff such as communicating with NPC’s and more rules to govern them, so not at the moment.

Q. Any plans for changes to the Asp Scout?
A. There are some “come cool plans for the Asp Scout, that I’m not allowed to talk about”.

Q. Will colour changes to planets reflect the content of the planets?
A. No, but the exploration mechanics in the 3.4 update will assist with figuring this out.