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!”

Important: Elite Dangerous Update

Updated @ 8:26pm – 31st August 2018

At 5:23pm on the 31st August Frontier made an announcement regarding the Chapter 4 update, the Premium Content that was slated for the end of the year and its plans for what comes after both of these. 

I’ve summarised any important ones made by Zac (who made the original post) at the bottom of this page. Changes to various pages on this  website have been made to reflect this news.


Greetings Commanders,

First of all, we would like to take a moment to thank you all for the continued support and making Elite Dangerous the incredible, community driven, phenomenon that it is today.

We started our Elite Dangerous journey over 6 years ago and today hundreds of thousands of Commanders log in regularly to continue their epic space journey. From a personal perspective, joining the team shortly after the kickstarter, and being a part of this incredible community has truly been one of the most amazing highlights of my career. From in-person community meet ups, online community groups and jaw-dropping events, you have always inspired us with your passion and enthusiasm.

We wanted to take a moment to talk about a number of topics being discussed in the community and to be as open and transparent as possible. It’s a long read, so make sure you’re safely docked and comfortable before attempting to navigate this post.

The things we’d like to go through include Chapter Four content and a little about a future beyond “Beyond”, as well as touching on the subject of “paid premium content” in 2018 for Lifetime Expansion Pass owners.

Let’s get started with Chapter Four content. As all of you know, our largest update of the year is in final development and will be available for players to get hands-on with in just a number of weeks (Some time in Q4).This will be the final update of 2018 and the Beyond season. The Beyond season was always something that we wanted to do in order to bring even more enhancements to the core experience of Elite and being able to dedicate a full development team (over 100 people!) for a full year of free content was specifically to gear ourselves up to support our long term vision for the game.
On a personal note, Squadrons is something I’m most excited by. Seeing our player groups grow and the stories they’ve created has been incredible and now being able to see them take that to the next level, formalize their groups in-game, TAG up and team up is something I’m really looking forward to.

There’s also a huge group of players who are most excited by the many new additions to exploration. I know from talking to so many of you online and in-person, this is a huge moment and the development team are working really hard to deliver new content and mechanics to give explorers that thrill of venturing out into the black. And then there’s even more with additions with significant mining enhancements, a full game visual upgrade and the Codex which all bring even more richness to the game experience and depth to the way people play. It’s certainly an update we’re all very excited to see the community explore.

We do have one exciting piece of news to share that to date, we have not shared with our community. A while ago, our development went from pre-production into full production on our next major milestone of Elite development.

What that means in the simplest terms is that the team are actively working on the next major landmark which takes us into our next era for Elite. We aren’t going to be ready to talk about or announce any details for quite a while yet, it is early in the development and there is still a long way to go, but I can say that this is something that will be scheduled to release a considerable time after the final update in the Beyond series. We will have more details on exactly what this means and how the era will roll out after the release of Beyond – Chapter Four, but this does mark some exciting next steps and a continued commitment to the long term vision for the game and our community.

Naturally, there will be community questions that might come up from this information. We aren’t going to be ready to talk about what method or model the content will be. What we can say is that it’s expected to be a major milestone in the history of Elite and will be paid content. Lifetime Expansion owners will obviously receive the content as part of their pass.

As part of pre-production, the team investigate all areas of the content and scope them out thoroughly. It’s important to take the time to be clear on what the vision for this is and how we imagine the content working. During this process, we have made a decision to adjust the focus of content that were previously planned for the Chapter Four update, adding some significant new gameplay, but it also means some other aspects will have to change. This means that some elements of content such as Ice Planets (which many of you will have seen some fantastic progress updates from LaveCon earlier this year) and Fleet Carriers for squadrons will not be coming as part of the Beyond – Chapter Four update. Some of the technology from the ice planets specifically will be used within our wider and global visual upgrade, so there will still be general improvements, but not everything we originally envisaged. However, we wanted you to be aware that these two elements specifically would be reprioritised out of the upcoming Beyond – Chapter Four update. What this does mean is that the rest of the content will be able to benefit for the changes in scheduling through deeper and richer gameplay mechanics. The Chapter Four update still has the same, if not bigger scope and continues to promise the largest update of the Beyond season and a truck load of great features for all Horizons Commanders for free. We’re very excited to be sharing the details with you over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more info.

Another area that we’ve had a number of questions on is the “premium content” coming in 2018.

As many of you will know, we previously mentioned that premium (paid for) content would also be coming within the Beyond season of updates and that Lifetime Expansion Pass holders would be getting this for free. However, as we went through the early stages of what the next era for Elite Dangerous would be, we decided that it would be better to spend that additional time on the future content, rather than bringing new types of purchasable content out this year.

This is a big positive for the long term future of the game and its content. However, we also understand that there are people with Lifetime Expansion Passes who haven’t received paid for content in this season, because Beyond has been free to all owners of Horizons. We truly appreciate the support and commitment that those owners put in us when they purchased the LEP and we will be making sure that there is a form of free store content going out to them by the end of this year.

The most important thing we would like for our community to take from this, is that there are some incredibly exciting things just over the horizon. The Elite Dangerous development team is larger than it has been at any point in the last 6 years. It is thanks to your continued support, dedication, feedback and engagement that has made this possible. We have the Beyond Chapter Four update coming soon, our largest update in the Beyond season, with some awesome headline features and a fantastically promising future of content and ongoing development. We’re looking forward to sharing more details with you in the future. However, if you have any questions feel free to share them with us by posting in this thread and we’ll try and answer as many of them as we can.

Thanks

Zac Antonaci


> Q&A & Information

  • “It won’t be too long before we’re ready to start showing some of the great work the devs have been working on.”

  • Q. That means the carriers are out of update 4 and will be delivered as a paid content next year? For real?
  • A. No, that’s not what was said.

  • Q. Can it then be inferred that previously announced Beyond content that has been deferred will form part of free updates in the post-Beyond release schedule?
  • A. Honestly? It’s a little early at this time to say where fleet carriers will fit in terms of schedules. The team are very keen to bring them in which is why it was on the plan initially. But at this moment other areas of work were prioritised in order to make the for a better update and content for the community as a whole. We’ll obviously share all the details as soon as we have more news but the next things we’ll be talking about will be the content in Beyond – Chapter Four.

  • Q. Can you clarify what you are saying about Fleet Carriers and Squadrons? There seems to be some confusion.
  • A. Squadrons is still a major part of the Beyond – Chapter Four update. However, the fleet carriers specifically were prioritised and unfortunately won’t be making it into the Chapter Four update. they may well come in the future and that doesn’t mean that they will be paid for content. But as you’ll see in the post of mine above, it’s a little early to be able to talk about the dates and details at this time. We’ll soon be able to share more details on the Beyond – Chapter Four update as a whole.

  • Q. This sounds like “we’re taking out content from Beyond ch.4 and putting it in a future, paid update”.
  • A. Just to clarify that’s absolutely not what’s being said, or being done. The future content that has started in production is a whole new era/chapter/milestone in Elite. Much like Horizons was and like Beyond was/is. Please rest assured that this post is not suggesting that we are taking content and moving it to paid for content later. Hope that helps.

  • Q. Can you clarify if the missing elements in Chapter 4 will come at some point prior to the next Season? Can you please explain what is this “significant new gameplay”?
  • A. We’ll be sharing everything that’s in Chapter Four in the coming weeks so we’ll have more details then and I’m looking forward to seeing the communities reactions. As for the Fleet carriers and ice planets, it’s still too early to talk about how or when they would be making their way into the game. We’ll be talking more about “beyond, Beyond” sometime after the Chapter Four update is released.

  • Q. Hopefully the FFF (Focussed Feedback Forum) for exploration can be opened now so we have a chance to give ideas and input before Q4 release is too long gone in development?
  • A. Sorry for the delay on the FFF. As you can see there’s been a lot happening internally. I’ll have a chat with the dev team and see what we can do. I know the dev team are always very grateful for the feedback they get on those threads so I’ll follow up on that.

  • There’s been a few people trying to speculate on the length of time between Chapter Four and the next major milestone. It’s specifically worded to avoid people thinking that it’s coming out a immediately after the Beyond season finishes, to avoid disappointment, but try not to speculate too much and we’ll have more news for you later.

Squadrons: Live Stream Summary

Thanks to all round good egg Stuart GT on Reddit, here is a summary of the details taken from last night’s live stream with Adam Bourke-Waite.  A summarised version of this information will appear in due course on the Beyond: Chapter 4 page. Please note: This is just the first part of the discussion on Squadrons, more will follow in due course.

  • Squadrons ≃ “guilds”, and a multiplayer organisation tool, to enhance and organise existing gameplay
  • Not being designed around Solo CMDRs, being designed around groups of CMDRs
  • Leaders/Officers will not gain benefits (credits, resources)
  • Minimum requirement for creating a Squadron = 1 CMDR
  • Minimum requirement for many Squadron features (e.g. getting a Carrier) = “a number of CMDRs”
  • Squadron names can be reserved for existing player groups, to prevent name-sniping
  • Squadron name will be permanent upon its creation, and must be unique
  • Will a deleted-Squadron’s name be available again = don’t know, will check with server, gameplay teams
  • Will rank be a requirement for Squadron creation = no
  • Custom decals/logos for Squadrons = not at the moment
  • Squadron-creation fee hasn’t been set yet – want to prevent Squadron-creation spam yet still allow smalls groups to create them
  • Invitations can be disabled, i.e. “this Squadron is not accepting new members”
  • Squadron page will be accessible in-cockpit, and similarly sized to Starport Services
  • While creating a Squadron costs a credit fee, joining one is free
  • 250 cap increase being discussed amongst the devs (design, server, gameplay teams)
  • Squadron alliances/connections being discussed amongst the devs (design, server, gameplay teams)
  • Potential for both the cap increase and alliances/connections to be added
  • Minor faction and Powerplay allegiances/ties not being talked about yet, but aren’t a no
  • Squadron bank is not being discussed now (will be during main Carrier feedback)
  • Wings will stay the same
  • Plenty of Squadron selectable “tags” available to help filtering/searching (e.g. search & rescue, PvP, timezones, Conlonia) and want more suggestions
  • Each Squadron will have a 4 character ID to appear *somewhere* with CMDR names for identification
  • Instancing will not be changed to allow 250+ CMDRs in same instance, but…
  • …will be easier for members to join the same instance as they’ll have high matchmaking priority
  • Squadrons and notoriety? Will be discussed at a later point
  • Will Squadron chat have a back history, to read when you go online = no
  • Squadron “rank” count (3 so far – Leader, Officers, Pilots) increase being discussed amongst the devs (design, server, gameplay teams)
  • Officers privileges are fully-customisable anyway, so different officers in same Squadron can have different roles
  • Those ranks will not be renamable
  • Carrier is a very large ship that members can dock with
  • Carrier can jump if a large enough amount of a “resource” is collected
  • Carrier movement not restricted to weekly server tick, can jump whenever enough “resource” is collected
  • Can have a Squadron without a Carrier
  • Squadron “beacon” for pointing members to a place/meetup is being discussed amongst the devs (design, server, gameplay teams)
  • Stickied Squadron chat message-of-the-day can contain instructions/details/whatever
  • Squadron comms will be text
  • Squadrons and their comms are not cross-platform
  • Non-members can visit and see another Squadron’s Carrier, visibly identify its upgrades, but cannot dock at it
  • Nobody can create more than one Squadron
  • Edge-cases of Squadron leadership (inactive, wiped save, etc) being discussed by the devteam
  • Squadron-created missions = no
  • Squadron comms might be cross-gamemode, i.e. messaging across Open/Group/Solo
  • Will Squadron members be visible on the Galaxy map, cross-gamemode = being discussed amongst the devteam
  • Squadron page will contain statistics, roster, Carrier details, info & chat feeds, etc
  • Can you hide your Squadron ID = don’t know, will discuss amongst the devteam
  • More information on Carriers in the future
  • Will it be possible to walk around in the Carrier = no, it will not be introducing SpaceLegs
  • Carriers can be customised, details to be announced in future
  • Carriers are of Megaship scale, and cost will be paid for by the Squadron, not specifically the Leader
  • Edward Lewis keeps sabotaging the stream: first no audio, and the lights keep switching off
  • Will Squadrons be able to have a description = no (initially), hoping the tagging system will be enough
  • Will the feed contain news for bragging rights, PvP kills, etc = give your feedback on what you want in the feed

Focused Feedback: Live Stream

Frontier have announced a Live stream for this evening (Thursday 10th May 2018) to discuss the first part of the feedback for the Squadrons feature which is coming in quarter 4. You can follow it from 6pm BST with Senior Designer Adam Bourke-Waite here.

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.

 

Focused Feedback Forums & Livestreams

Note: Date for Squadrons has been changed by Frontier to the 8th May.

On the 2nd May 2018 Frontier announced that the Focused Feedback Forums would be re-appearing for various topics. You can see the post here, or below. Links

“Greetings Commanders,

“While we’re hard at work on the next update for Elite Dangerous Beyond 3.1, we wanted to share our plans for the Focused Feedback Forum, and when you’ll see particular topics come up for discussion.

“The Focused Feedback Forum, for those who don’t know, is an area of the forum where we describe and explain our concepts for future features coming as part of Elite Dangerous Beyond. When the forum post goes live, we then welcome constructive and focused feedback from our community on each topic. Previous Focused Feedback Forum discussions have proven to be extremely useful for development, so we wanted to get things going as soon as possible in order to best consider your suggestions.

“We’d like to thank you again for all of your feedback across social media, the forums and direct messages. Although the Focused Feedback Forums give us a place to focus on specific topics, we still pass on every suggestion and comment to the development team for consideration.

“It’s important to note that the following list and dates are not final, and we have to allow for some flexibility. You may also see other topics pop up in addition to those listed below, we will keep you up to date when or if we’re adding any more discussion topics. Please note that the topics will overlap (as you can clearly see below) – this allows us to keep the discussion topics open for as long as possible, and gather as much information as we need. The main topic will be introduced, followed up by the inclusion and announcement of sub topics relating to the original discussion. As well as opening up the forums for discussion, we’ll also be hosting live streaming discussions with the developers on each topic. We’ll give you more information on these streams as we solidify the schedule.

Estimated start dates

Squadrons Discussion
8th May

Mining Discussion
28th May

Exploration/Codex 
18th June

“Thanks again for your continued support and feedback, we’re very excited to share our ideas with you.

“Ed and the Elite Dangerous team”