Patch Update: 3.3.04

On the 18th February 2019 at 10:19am Frontier announced the 3.3.04 Patch update. Details of it can be seen below or on the Frontier website, here. You can view all links to updates on the Patch Update section of this website, here.

Greetings Commanders,

The Elite Dangerous servers will be offline for all platforms at 11:30 AM (UTC) today for approximately 30 minutes as we apply the 3.3.04 patch. Thank you for your patience and we’ll see you in the black!

Please find the patch notes below:

Comms

  • Fixed an issue where Xbox clients failed to connect to the different comms channels

Controls

Updated ‘Classic Context’ control scheme to allow the SRV boost button to work correctly once again, and to remove the conflict between handbrake and cycle fire groups

  • Note – we have had to reassign and in some cases remove some shortcuts. The full list of changes are:
    • Moved headlights and cargo scoop to the Y/Triangle button and d-pad directions
    • Moved open discovery and camera suite to X/Square button and shoulder buttons
    • Moved cycle fire group to Y/Triangle and right d-pad
    • Removed galaxy map and system map shortcuts (can still be accessed from left hand panel)

Crashes/Stability

  • Fixed a crash that could occur when handing in a wing mission
  • Fixed crash that could occur when destroying skimmers

Exploration

  • Stopped the ‘System Scan Complete’ message spamming the player

General

  • Removed the ability for players being able to incorrectly jump huge distances when their ship was without fuel
  • Fixed some visual artifacts that could occur in Thargoid conflict zones

Mining

  • Fixed motherlode asteroids not spawning the appropriate material chunks when correctly destroyed by a Wing of players

Network

  • Fixed a variety of situations that could cause players to be disconnected whilst playing

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!”

The Future? “It’s on the list….”

Updated: 12th April 2019

To view the most recent updates to this page visit the Blog Update page. As with all game development plans, schedules and features can and do change, so this list is by no means a definitive confirmation, unless stated otherwise. Note: Green text is used to show the content/feature spoken about has now appeared in-game and that it could also see further changes.


> CONTENTS

>

1. INTRODUCTION 7. SHIPS, CREW, VEHICLES, STATIONS
2. BACKGROUND – Squadrons
3. AFTER BEYOND – Multi-Crew
4. SPACE-LEGS – Ships
5. CORE GAME PLAY – Additional SRV’s
– Missions – Planetary Aircraft/Landing Vehicles
– Mining – NPC Crew, Wingmen & SRV’s| Persistent NPC’s 
– Engineers – Station Variations
– Signal Sources – Hull Repair | Limpets
– Trade – CQC Updates/Bots
– Bookmarks & Beacons – Module & Commodity Storage
– Player Journal 8. AUDIO DESIGN
– Camera Suite – Galnet Audio
– Ship Scanner – Other In-Game Audio
6. GRAPHICS & ASSETS – Ship Call Signs
– Orrery System Map 9. ALIENS & THE GUARDIANS
– Stellar Objects 10. MYSTERIES
– Cities & Cloud Cities 11. POWERPLAY
– Tionisla Graveyard 12. CQC/ELITE RACERS
– Planetary Rings Shadows 13. MODDING
– Multiple source lighting 14. DIRECTX 12
– Ship Damage Models 15. OTHER PLATFORMS
16. CROSS PLATFORM PLAY

> INTRODUCTION
>

With the scope and potential of Elite: Dangerous there’s a never ending stream of questions regarding when certain features (wished for or promised) might make it into the game. Below is a list that have been commented upon by Frontier Development staff. David Braben has said that he hopes that the game will continue to be develop for at least 10 years, commenting back in 2016,

“Looking back at those (developer videos), you can see what we’ve done, were executing on the plan. There’s still a lot of things that are to come and those are very exciting. We do have a long plan. It would take us a long time to deliver all the things that we want to do. The great thing is the more things get added to the end of it. So it may well be never ending. I’ve said sort of 8 years, 10 years, but actually it could end up and I’m hoping it’ll be a lot longer than that. The key point is we’ll keep doing exciting things and we’ll work out how best to do that.”

Although Frontier have always said the base game will continue to be expanded where they see fit, some of the items below will be available to it, others to the paid expansions. During Newsletter #32, Frontier commented,

“We plan to continue to significantly enhance the game via further expansions after the launch date, using the same incremental development philosophy that we’ve used so far.

“Major new features will include planetary landings and even walking around inside ships, stations, and planet surfaces with time.

“For those who have a Lifetime Expansion Pass (included in Premium Beta and Alpha, and also still available here until 29th July 2014) all such significant expansion will be included. Those without the Lifetime Expansion Pass will be charged for each expansion as they are released.”


> BACKGROUND

>
Frontier have various teams working on different aspects of the game. David Braben has said that the main features are written into the schedule, with other secondary features being more flexible. As David himself said during a Reddit AMA:

“We have ongoing work on planets, including atmospheres, planetary life, walking about and lots of other very exciting things for the future.”

You can also take a look at the developers speaking about the features they are looking forward to in the video below:


> AFTER BEYOND
>

On the 1st March 2019 Frontier announced that the next major release would not be available until ‘the later half of 2020’ but before then there would be more regular smaller releases, but not on the same size as those in Beyond. On the 10th April 2019 Frontier announced that the first of those smaller updates would be released on the 23rd April. You can read about those features, here.

Beyond

It’s been a little over two months since Beyond – Chapter Four, our final instalment in the Beyond season, arrived and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from the community. Beyond allowed us to deliver a year of free updates to Elite Dangerous in order to build, enhance, compliment and connect the content that has been added since launch. This step in the ongoing evolution of Elite was vital. The long-term vision for the game, even from the early days, has always been ambitious and we are committed to supporting the game with that vision in mind. All of this is made possible by the support of our amazing community. We were truly delighted that from Beyond – Chapter Four, we’ve seen one of our highest ever player counts with many hundreds of thousands of Commanders jumping in and taking to their cockpits together. Thank you! 

The Next Era

Back in August, we mentioned that the team had begun work on the next major era of Elite. We believe this will be a defining moment in the history of the game and it will be our biggest update yet.

In that post, we explained that the content was still very early in development, so we won’t be ready to announce it for a while. To give this more context, in order to realise the ambition for this update, and the size and scope of the content we wish to bring to the Elite Dangerous galaxy, we estimate this major milestone will be ready by the latter half of 2020. 

As development progresses, we will share more news and announcements on features, as well as timelines regarding this upcoming content for Elite. We can understand that having a long wait for news can be frustrating, but we truly believe that this will be the single most impactful update for our community. Having a development team dedicated to this milestone is our continued and unwavering commitment to making Elite Dangerous the most authentic, ambitious, and expansive evolving space game in the world. 

As mentioned in our previous post, this new era will be paid for content and all lifetime expansion pass owners will have this included in their pass. 

What now?

We know that waiting for a mammoth update like this one is going to feel like your 3rd run to Hutton Orbital. But don’t fret, we’ve got plenty of updates, content, and plans happening as we progress through to this monumental milestone.

As well as the team of developers working on our next big milestone, we also have a smaller development team focused on adding to and improving the existing game between now and that time. This will take the form of regular game updates and development supported events. 

Development supported events

One of the biggest changes will be the way that we create and support in-game events and activities. Starting in the coming months, we will be looking to change the way that in-game events happen. The aim here is to create ongoing, engaging, and varied sets of content that are supported by the development team which players will be able to actively engage in.

We have listened to community feedback regarding Community Goals and while they are an incredible tool, they have become somewhat routine for many Commanders. We felt that we needed to adjust them to be more event-related while taking our in game events a big step further. We will gradually be changing our community goals and their frequency, using them within a larger schedule of development-led events to help us create more improved, meaningful and engaging experiences. 

As well as Community Goals, we will also be using things like new scenarios, reputation and reward boosts (such as Superpower reputation increases), BGS and global galactic changes, in-game interactions, new game assets and much more to make game-wide events that tie into the game world. The aim is to constantly create new and exciting events and campaigns for you to get involved in and shape, which will focus on and benefit different types of players. 

Outside of the game, we’ll communicate with you about these events, how they work and what goes into developing Elite Dangerous.

Regular updates

In addition to the weekly and monthly activity happening in Elite, we will also be releasing a series of updates roughly every 3-4 months. The first two of these updates will primarily focus on new player and welcoming experiences, and we will also be introducing a number of quality of life improvements for the entire player base, of which we will have more news on in the coming weeks. This will help ensure that new players are able to better progress through the game, and therefore help bring more players through to our very awesome, very welcoming community. We will also have additional game tweaks, benefits and bug fixes for all players. In the subsequent updates we will be focusing on bringing in new features, perks and content, including a range of exciting new additions to the game that will build up to this new era. 

It is important to note that these updates will not take the same level of content or size that we have seen from our previous updates in Beyond or Horizons, as the majority of the development team will be focusing on the new era. 

Elite Dangerous has an incredibly passionate, enthusiastic and talented community, and we’re committed to supporting Elite now and for the future. We would like to take this opportunity to say, once again, that none of this would be possible without the continued support and dedication from our community – so, thank you. Keep sharing your feedback with us, and if you have any questions feel free to share them with us by posting in this thread. We’ll try and answer as many of them as we can.

The Elite Dangerous Team

In terms of future expansions or DLC following the release of the Beyond series of updates Frontier’s Head of Communications, Zac Antonaci, commented after Expo 2017,

“In addition to all the content talked about at Frontier Expo, we also have some pretty cool things in the works which will be available to purchase. We’re not ready to talk about them just yet so we can’t give you any details but rest assured that the lifetime expansion pass owners will be looked after and will be getting their hands on premium content as part of their lifetime expansion pass before the end of 2018 and the Beyond series of updates.”

During an interview with PC Gamer on the 26th July 2018 David Braben commented,

“The plan was – beyond the [current] season for Elite, which is mostly announced – there are a lot of things that we will be announcing that are really exciting, some of which will be free, some of which will be paid. So it’s that quite healthy mix that is very good for the studio and is really good for the game”.

You can find the latest news on this in the 4.0 section, here.


> ‘SPACE LEGS’ / ‘ELITE FEET’

>
Frontier have always planned to have a first person aspect to the game and in the early days of its design this was mentioned as initially coming in the form of:

> Walking around interiors and combative boarding of other ships.

> Combat and other interactions with other players and AIs in the internal areas of star ports

Very early on in the design process Frontier showed a short render of a pilot moving around within a cockpit. This can be seen below.

On the 25th October 2016 David Braben said during a Reddit AMA about walking about that,

“It is of course something we have thought about a good deal. The real challenge with walking around, EVA, etc, is not the fact of doing it – walking around is something we have done in many other games – it is what you do while doing it to make it interesting. We have nothing to announce at the moment.”

David Braben again commented about this on the 21st December 2016 when he said,

“All of the things, and there are lots of other things as well, that we want to do are a way away, because to do them well… Doing an animated character is only part of the problem, you’ve got to have things to do with it, it’s got to be rich, and a great experience. So don’t hold your breath, but when it comes it’ll be great. It’s not coming soon.”

Then during a PAX: East Q&A Sandro Sammarco commented,

“Just to set the record straight, Space Legs and EVA gameplay, that’s way off in the future. That’s a goal. I’ve talked to David and it’s always been part of his core vision for what Elite really is, even from way back in the day, it’s always been about you’re a person in a real futuristic setting, not just a ship. However, I think it’s also fair to say Space Legs is effectively dovetailing a whole new game into Elite. We take steps towards it, it’s our end vision, but we’re not there yet, we’re… it’s a long way off. And when it does, by the time, if we get there, if we manage it, I’m sure we’ll have the time to sort out any consistencies that need to be sorted out.”

On the 11th April 2017 during a live stream David Braben commented,

“It’s coming, but obviously it’s not imminent, but it is coming and it is planned.”

During the trailer previewing the PS4 release some CGI footage of players in their ships was seen for the first time. See here and here.

pilot
Screen grab taken from the PS4 trailer

It’s possible that future iterations will allow players to make repairs to the outside of their ships and to walk about on planetary surfaces, as they commented during Newsletter #32, way back in July 2014.

Frontier have previously commented that ships are designed with the interiors in mind. Below are a selection of ship interiors including a video.

capture
Frontier concept artwork showing a player repairing the outside of a ship
capture2
Frontier concept artwork showing a player inside a damaged ship
station interiors
Frontier concept artwork showing the interior of two station types
insideship
Frontier concept artwork showing the inside of a ship.
capture3
Frontier concept artwork showing people viewing space from the inside of a station

> CORE GAME PLAY

EXPLORATION & PLANETS

Exploration was one of the parts of the game expanded upon in the Beyond series of updates where Frontier made some sizeable changes to both the colours and details of the planets in the game by ‘revisiting the shaders and graphs that produce the procedurally created planets’. This brought out some of the ‘contrast and details that already exist within the system’ and giving the planets a more ‘rich detailed look’ and a ‘wider variety of colour variations’.

One large feature that was originally promised in but was pushed back was Frontier’s re-work of their ‘scatter-rock’ technology. This is the way both rocks and boulders are displayed on the planetary surfaces. This is said to give a greater variety in the size, shape, scale and forms of rocks on the planetary surfaces making the ‘environments more compelling to navigate’. They will also look at localised ambient affects for both fog and vapour which will bring ‘an increased depth to the visuals’ in the game. It’s expected  (but not confirmed) that these visuals will now appear in the 4.0 update. Frontier have commented that,

“We know many people are enthusiastic about Ice Planets and Fleet Carriers, they are still on our internal dev road map but we don’t have anything to announce right now.”

iceicebaby
Artists impression of how future planetary surfaces could look after improvements.

At LaveCon 2018 Frontier showed a brief glimpse of a small part of the upgrades they are making to Ice worlds in the form of a short video clip seen below.

Additional planet types to land on will be expanded as the game progresses. David Braben has previously spoken about gas giants in the game which you can hear by listening to the video below.

Sandro had commented on the 13th October 2016 during the Horizons 2.2 – Beta 7 live stream,

“Atmospheric landing is a long way off, it’s clearly in the road map but we’re a long way from it still”

This was then later confirmed by Dale on the Frontier forum commenting on the 15th June 2017,

“Having spoken to our team at E3, atmospheric landings remains something we are still working towards and the whole studio, including David, is very keen to implement. We’d like to be able to give you an idea of the rough time frame for it, but unfortunately that’s not possible at the moment – we don’t want to make potentially empty promises to you.”

It’s likely that Earth-like worlds, the holy grail of Elite, would arrive very late on in it’s development plan. These procedurally generated planets complete with atmospheres, clouds, plants, creatures etc. are a massive amount of work. This was something David Braben commented upon during the early days of the Kickstarter way back in December 2012 and several of the development team commented as being a part of the game they would most like to see. David Braben has previously commented,

“The biggest challenge is with what we call ‘outdoor worlds’. I would want rich and varied vegetation, wildlife, and so on.”

Sandro commented during a Horizons 2.2 Beta 7 stream that they were looking at additional gameplay for planetary landings, specifically mentioning ‘science reports’.

The talk of there being caves in the game has been mentioned since before the release of Horizons. It’s thought there were some technical reasons that needed to be overcome to allow them to happen, as well as the fact they would only appear on certain planetary types.

Frontier announced at Expo 2017 that they will re-visit exploration and that they would,

‘Build on the systems and processes by which exploration takes place with the aim of making exploration more engaging’.

It was said this would also touch upon missions, commodities and resources. One new feature would be the Codex. This would not only log exploration discoveries but also act as an encyclopedia to give more depth and context to what you find as well as possibly hinting at other things that could be found in the galaxy. Additionally there will be new content, phenomenon and anomalies in the galaxy.

Missions

The development of missions in the game is an ongoing one and something that is very complex given their procedurally generated nature and the fact there are so many ‘edge cases’ to design for. Missions are one of the core game components that would be expanded upon in ‘Beyond’. David Braben commented before the release of ‘The Engineers’ 2.1 update in an AMA on Reddit that,

“We do want to do a lot more with missions; more details to come over time. We’re not short of ideas.”

Chained Missions – These were originally included as courier missions. Feedback made them feel that they didn’t realise they were providing the kind of experience they wanted and they were later removed. It was stated that they were partly a test bed to find out how missions could progress into different areas of the game. They have been re-introduced into the game following 2.3 & 2.4 and are expected to be expanded upon further still.

Escort Missions/Combined Missions – When asked at Lavecon 2016 Sandro suggested this was a ‘desirable feature’ and that it blended in with multi-crew and ship-launched fighters, but didn’t go as far as saying when it would actually appear. During the Beta 7 video Q&A Sandro again mentioned something along these lines saying,

“Combined missions, scenarios – really nice nothing to talk about for the moment. Making missions and scenarios more interesting is something we’re interested in.”

Military Career – Michael Brookes has stated Frontier would like to make taking up a role in the military ‘a career path’, but that this would require ‘a large amount of work to do it justice’. It’s likely that these changes won’t be appearing until Season 3 at the earliest. During the Horizons 2.2 Beta 7 stream Sandro Sammarco commented that they are still looking at this and it could lead to ‘people with a Naval Rank being called up.’ During a live Missions Q&A stream on the 13th December 2016, Frontier said they  are aware of desire for something along these lines and they don’t have anything to announce soon, but it is being looked at as a possibility.

Wing Missions – Frontier released the first iteration of Wing Missions with the Beyond: 3.0 update. During a Beta 3.0 Q&A Sandro Sammarco confirmed that more Wing Missions would be appearing. 

Passenger Missions – These appeared in Horizons 2.2 – Guardians release, October 2016. It will also feature the addition of a passenger ship, the Beluga Liner. The ability to carry prisoners appeared in 2.3 – The Commanders.

Population Change Missions – Players have requested to be able to significantly change the populations for systems by altering the background simulation. On the 28th August 2018 Dav Stott replied to a question on this by commenting,

“Nothing to announce at the moment but it was something that comes up internally on the forums and we can all agree it’s a cool idea. When it does come to moving population around the game it something would look to integrate really tightly into the game mechanics.”

Small (ship specific) Missions – Something that has been suggested several times by players is the ability to only do specific missions in specific smaller ships, ie, the Sidewinder. During a Reddit AMA before the release of 2.3 David Braben commented,

“I’d love to see this; it is a good idea we will look at.”

Mining
This original core feature will receive an update in the Quarter 4 Beyond series of updates by improving the way players detect and extract resources via a ‘toolkit of modules and capabilities. This will give players more option and variety in how they set up their mining ships. Sandro said the idea was to ‘try and evoke a feeling of wild west prospecting’ by giving players crisis and challenges or through the concept of striking it rich by ‘deep core blasting a special asteroids’ to give better rewards.

Then at Lavecon 2018 Mark Allen announced the following in respect to the upcoming mining changes in Chapter 4 of Beyond. The information below is a synopsis of his comments which you can see here.

  • In addition to the current mining laser and prospector limpet there will be a suite of new tools available to players that will bring some significant changes to the process of discovering and mining asteroids.
  • One of these tools will be the use of probes fired by the detailed surface scanner, as mentioned in the exploration section above.
  • There will be a new in-ring scanning mechanism to help you find the most valuable asteroids and what they contain.
  • There will be new asteroid types containing new materials, some of which will require careful mining as it could cause the asteroid to break up.
  • Others will be beneath the surface and will require the new tools to extract them safely. Additionally some asteroids will need to be cracked wide open to get to the materials inside.
  • This will require the placement of blasting charges on the asteroid and with the use of the prospector limpet which will give information on where the weak points of the asteroid are in order to best set the blast charges.
  • This process will lead to increased payouts and the support of wings and multi-crew give the opportunity for one player to set the charges, another to collect the surface materials before it is blown up and a third player could prospect further asteroids in the ring.
  • Mining will also be a dangerous process with potentially some asteroids releasing dust to obscure your sensors, or corrosive materials to damage your ship. Others may violently explode risking damage from flying debris.
  • In some of the less explored areas there are “all sorts of other things you might find”. Frontier say these dangerous will be able to be mitigated by skilled players using the equipment correctly.

Engineers
Engineering had some significant changes made to it in Beyond: Chapter 1. During a Beta 3.0 Q&A on the 8th February 2018 Sandro Sammarco suggested that they would be looking at letting the new Tech Broker weapons undergo engineering at some point in the Beyond series of updates. During the same Q&A Sandro also suggested that at some point they would be looking at allowing players to re-name engineered modules and that it was “on the list”.

Unofficially there are still a number of Engineers who are yet to appear in the game. These have been cited as below and are subject to change. The names in green were added during the Beyond: Chapter 3 update and are based in Colonia.

Captain Banner (Independent) – HIP 61061
Etienne Dorn – Jupang
Petra Olmanova – Asura

Elui Shera (Independent) – Conven
Kit Lange (Independent) – Torno
Lex Avermann (Independent) – Thrudihe
Marshall (Independent) – Na Zha
Matt ‘The Gunner’ Sorbis (Independent) – Lelabo
Mel Brandon – Luchtaine
Marsha Hicks – Tir

Plasma Piotr (Federation) – NLTT 9949
Trin Falcour (Independent) – Yavas

Signal Sources

The way these appeared in the game changed in Beyond: Chapter 4 where they became discoverable via the ships scanner. This came on the back of LaveCon 2018 where Frontier mentioned that they had plans to improve how signal sources feature in the game. Then on the 21st June 2018 during a live stream Sandro Sammarco said that,

“One of the things we are looking at is a way to make signal sources more deterministic and locatable using gameplay through exploration. A standard level of exploration available for everyone. I’ve seen some stuff that looks quite good but no ETA’s or guarantees.”

Trade

In Beyond: Chapter 1 Frontier made some major changes to the way players can gain trading information allowing Commanders to access trade data from systems they have previously visited in order to make more informed decisions when shipping goods across the Milky Way. Changes have been made to both the Commodities menu and the Galaxy Map to make this possible.

Bookmarks & Beacons

Bookmarks appeared in 2.1 ‘The Engineers’, and a dynamic route plotter were confirmed for 2.2 – ‘The Commanders’. In response to a question about having “droppable beacons to bookmark specific coordinates/locations on planets (visible to the player only)” Sandro replied,

“We want this and have done for a little while, but its finding the right time and feature to slide it in with”

During a 3.0 Beta Q&A Sandro Sammarco said that during the Beyond series of updates they would be looking again at bookmarks in the game and how they could be improved upon.

Player Journal
This appeared in the 2.2 update, ‘The Guardians’Replying to a question asking if there were any “plans to let players store tourist beacon/obelisk data in game or in the journal so we can refer back to them?” Sandro Sammarco commented that,

“We are looking at storing some of the more interesting player messages in the journal.”

Camera Suite
This appeared in the 2.3 update, ‘The Commanders’. Sandro Sammarco commented that there would be a compelling argument to add filters and other improvements to the camera suite if it sees a lot of use.

Crime & Punishment
A much requested area of the game had a major re-working in Beyond: Chapter 1 series of updates. You can see the full details, here.

Ship Scanner
At LaveCon 2018 Frontier announced changes to the way the ships scanner would work with the exploration changes in the Q4 update of Beyond,

Frontier want to make exploration a satisfying process and include ‘cool things to find’.

  • The Detailed surface scanner will remain available to players but will be enhanced to allow players to launch probes at planets planets and rings whilst in super-cruise.
  • The probes will follow a partially guided orbit around the body you wish to scan and are affected by gravity, so the larger the mass of the body the more they will arc towards it. This will allow players to do ‘trick shots’ and lob them around the planet and by doing so return date from the far-side of the planet.
  • When they get close enough to the surface they will send back details from a larger area around them – the idea being that players ‘paint coverage of a body’.
  • Probes can be synthesised in the same way other items can be. Players if they wish can launch a high number to cover all the surface area of a body, however Frontier have said they will add ‘mechanical rewards’ for doing so in an efficient manner.
  • The use of the detailed surface scanner can be used by all players in a multi-crew ship, the idea being players can work together as a team to efficiently map stellar bodies. Multi-crew players will also receive increased payouts for exploration based activities.
  • Frontier will remove the need to eye-ball planets in order to make discoveries. Instead things such as Thargoid activity, brain trees etc. will be shown to the player so they can make an informed decision about whether they wish to be guided towards them either “through markers or a breadcrumb trail (to be decided).
  • Frontier are going to “seed the galaxy with a series of unique things to find”. These will be in the form of geological, biological, and other phenomena. Frontier showed a video of some form of lightening which you can see here.
  • The galaxy will be divided into regions to help you plot, in conjunction with the Codex, where the discoveries are.

> GRAPHICS & ASSETS


Orrery System Maps
This much requested favourite among the player base appeared in Chapter 4 of Beyond, albeit initially as a schematic version. 

Frontier have said that at the time of release a textured view of the Orrery as per the system map is,

“not currently planned at this time.”

It was something that for a long time had been labelled as being “on the list“. David Braben had previously stated that it was about,

“How and where it fits in with the rest of the game and it’s quite a big job to make it useful and interesting.”

orrerymap
Concept Art showing the Orrery Map

On the 29th August 2017 following a discussion on the Frontier forum ex-Community Manager Dale Emasiri said,

“Having spoken at length with some of the designers, this is the general consensus with regards to the challenges that they’d face. Of course, those aren’t really the problem since our devs love a good challenge. The issue is that it isn’t a high priority as far as needed features or things that require refinement. It would be fantastic to have and I know for sure it’s on the wishlist of things that our artists and designers really would love to see, but that wishlist may not always be practical or realistic. I don’t think it’s a 3.x sort of feature we’ll see, but who knows? As is always the case, we’d love to; however, we have to be realistic about it.”

Stellar Objects
Sandro Sammarco mentioned at LaveCon 2018 that Comets would not be appearing in the Q4 Beyond Update. Previously Sandro Sammarco had said that comets and accretion disks could make an appearance at some point in the Horizons season of updates. The status of Accretion Disks for that update is not yet known. Accretion disks are something both David Braben and Michael Brookes has expressed a desire to see in the game along with an associated game play mechanic. Comets are in the galaxy simulation, but are currently not active in the game. During the Reddit AMA before the release of ‘The Guardians’ David Braben commented,

“We’ve been looking at the various kinds of bodies in the game, and some of you will have seen the updates in the beta to white dwarves and neutron stars. We have been balancing our effort across many different kinds of gameplay, ‘quality of life’ updates, and so on. I am personally a huge fan of the science elements, and we will continue to move forwards on them. Black holes, accretion discs, exotic star types like Beta Lyrae stars, and many other elements and features are on our list for attention, in no particular order. So yes, there are plans, but no promises as to when.”

Cities & Cloud Cities
David Braben commented that large domed cities would appear in the game, but not in 2.0. Frontier had previously commented during the early planning of the game,

Q. Cloud cities? (Like Empire Strikes Back)

Sandy: Yes – something like this (mining outposts in Jovian atmospheres) will be possible. This may not be a release 1 feature though.

Tionisla Graveyard
This was originally mentioned way back in Robert Holdstock’s novel that came with the original 1984 release and was said by Frontier at Lavecon back in 2016 to be coming some time after the 2.2 release. Since then nothing has been mentioned. It is described in the original novel as below,

“The best way to see the wreckplace at Tionisla is to approach it from the Sun (a reasonably safe thing to do since Tionisla, being a Democracy has few pirates in its system). Tionisla itself is a bright yellow world, and the cemetery is always between the planet and its star. As you fly close, the whole strange graveyard seems to be expanding from the circle of the world behind.

“The first thing you see is a shimmering, silver disc, a double spiral of tiny bright points. It slowly turns: it’s a galaxy in miniature, with the same intense blur of light at its centre, because here is where the biggest tombs are to be found.

“Come closer and soon you can see that the stars in this galaxy are markers, great lumps of metal, heavily inscribed with the words and symbols of a thousand religions. The cemetery is a bizarre and moving sight. The markers are rarely less than a thousand feet across. There are chrome-alloy crosses, titanium Stars of David, duralium henges, and all the strange symbolic shapes of the worlds, and the minds and the faiths that have come to die in this Star traveller’s special place.

“Tethered below this vast, rotating mausoleum is the dodecahedral shape of a ‘Dodo’ class space station, the home of the Cemetery Authorities. Here you go through security checks and get your visitor’s visa. And as you stand in the queue, staring up through the translucent ceiling of the Customs Hall, you can see the battered, broken ships of many of the dead, still attached to the silent tomb that contains the body.”

Planetary Rings Shadows
Again, something David Braben said he has wanted “for a while” and will be included, possibly ‘at the back-end of Season 2’, but this could not be guaranteed.

Multiple source lighting
This “couldn’t be ruled out” as a possible feature, but if it did appear it would be a graphical setting for high end computers. At Lavencon 2018 the reply was given that it’s still not in the official schedule but it has been looked at.

Ship Damage Models
Frontier’s original pitch included the design of various damage models for the ships. At present the only ships with an in-game damage model is the Anaconda. This question has not been raised with Frontier for a long while, so when/if the current implementation of this may arrive is not known.


> SHIPS, CREW & VEHICLES, PLAYER STATIONS

>
Squadrons (Player stations)

First announced at Expo 2017, this new feature was originally designed to give player groups a new way of working and organising by allowing players to create their own membership and hierarchy. It also brought enhanced communication options and better co-ordination for players using it. Squadrons were originally designed to be able to purchase their own fleet carriers, however this was pushed back indefinitely with Will Flanagan, Community Manager at Frontier commenting on the 7th March 2019,

“Fleet Carriers are still planned for the development road-map, and we’ll be able to share more information with you in the future.”

These large dock able vessels were planned to act as mobile base of operations allowing members to re-fuel, re-arm and re-spawn. Further information about the released version of Squadrons can be found here.

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Squadrons Promo image

Players bases and stations were first hinted at before the original release of the game in 2013. There has been little comment about it since. At the time Sandro Sammarco had said,

“We will not have player build ships/stations/buildings in release 1. This will happen – but the specific timing and content is up for discussion.”

In 2015 Frontier commented,

“Maybe, although it’s a long way out if it happens. Before this we need to change the background sim so that it is capable of creating new outposts or settlements.”

Then during the release stream for the 2.2 Beta David Braben was asked if players will ever be able to own their own stations. He responded by saying,

“It’s an interesting one, we have been talking about that for a while, there are a lot of challenges with that, particularly around game balancing, but yes it’s certainly a candidate feature.”

Multi-Crew
This appeared in the 2.3 ‘The Commanders’ update. When asked if other non-combat roles would be built into the feature Sandro Sammarco commented,

“Hopefully, no announcements at the moment. Lets see how it goes […] “There’s no reason other than time and resources why it couldn’t be expanded, but let’s take it one step at a time… It could get further. We have concepts for taking it further. Obviously nothing to announce at the moment.” 

At LaveCon 2018 Frontier announced that changes to both mining and exploration in the Q4 of Beyond would see multi-crew able to benefit from increased payouts when players were involved in the use of the new mining and exploration equipment.

There are no immediate plans to allow players to launch an multiple SRVs from a ship, although this has not been ruled out. However there are said to be some technical challenges to come due to instancing and ship ownership.

Ships
At Frontier Expo 2017 is was announced that there would be ‘a lot more ships’ coming to the game. Many of these will be Alliance based ships and are new designs and names in the Elite universe, with one exception. The Krait, Mamba, Challenger and Chieftain have all appeared in Chapters 1 and 2 of the Beyond Series.

  • Panther Clipper LX – The much commented on Panther Clipper was first seen way back in Newsletter #7 in the form of of a grey-box animation of it on a landing pad as well as some early concept at in Newsletter #13. These can be seen below courtesy of Cmdr. Arithon. So far there has been no comment on when this ‘heavy cargo freighter’ might appear.
panterhclipperlandingpad
Panther Clipper on a landing pad
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Panther Clipper entering a hangar
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Panther Clipper Concept Art
  • Underwater Ships – David Braben spoke of underwater ships making their way into the game at some point during the early game design discussions. If this were still to happen it would only take place once planets with water are available to land on. It should be noted that two ships in the game are named: the Beluga and the Dolphin suggesting these may not be limited to flying in space.

    “A slightly more unusual enquiry that we received was for the inclusion of underwater ships. Perhaps surprisingly, this is actually something that has been thought about by the team.”

  • Generation Ships – These are now in game following the release of 2.3 – The Commanders update, complete with voice logs. There is however no current associated gameplay or continuation of the story line. In the early days of space travel (before faster than light travel) these ships set off for distant worlds and had generations of people living on them. They never made contact with their home worlds again and little is known of their fate. Are people still alive? Well according to Frontier ‘The Missing’ will at some point make it into the game, possibly in one of the currently locked off areas of the universe.
  • Ship Launched Fighters – Frontier said during a 3.0 Q&A that these would possibly be allowed to undergo outfitting in the same way normal ships would. It’s also been suggested by Barry Clark that SLF’s might be able to assist at some point with mining activities.

    “Finally, not promising anything, but a fighter with mining hardpoints is something that’s on my list, as much for multi-crew as for flying around inside asteroid debris.”

  • Mega-Ships – Nine new mega-ships appeared in the 2.3 – The Commanders update but due to changed development priorities the gameplay proposed to go along with these ships was delayed. During the Beyond series of updates the first instalment of gameplay with these ships was revealed for the Q1 update. You can read more about this by visiting the Beyond: Chapter 1 page.
  • ATR Ships – Sandro Sammarco has said that they might look at making ATR ships persistent (ie. they will follow players out of a system) but not until they had seen how they operate in the initial 3.0 release of Beyond.
  • Capital Ships / Large Piloted Ships / Docking
    One of the game’s great moments is seeing a Capital Ship drop in to a system and in the Horizons these behemoths have been woven into some available missions. However it’s expected that Frontier want to make more of these ships with David Braben commenting that, ‘more could be done with them’. During a 3.0 Q&A in February 2018 Sandro Sammarco commented that they would be looking at introducing the same type of mega-ship interactions into Capital ship scenarios. In the 2.2 update Frontier added a capital ship docking yard to the game. and in 2.3 several more large ships were added to the game. During an AMA for the launch of XBox ED, Michael Brookes commented on the subject of Capital Ships saying,

“There aren’t immediate plans for controlling capital ships, but this does come up in discussion, so it’s not an outright no at this stage.”

At some point in the future it might be possible to dock smaller ships with larger ones. During a later AMA with Reddit David spoke about this whilst answering a question about commanding and managing ships, rather than just piloting them,

“There are a great many things in this area we have been looking at long term. Now we have ship-launched fighters, more lumbering ships can make more sense. We have also looked at more of the much larger ships in game – as NPCs and ultimately under player ‘executive control’ – but no promises as there are a good deal of gameplay challenges to be resolved first.”

He also said,

“That is something that we’ve thought about. We’ve always talked about the docking slot in the way the Panama canal limits ship sizes for those taking that route. The slot size should constrain ships. When you get to ships like the Cutter and Anaconda, they’re already quite sluggish. You’re already getting to the point where you wouldn’t go much bigger without going to executive control, controlling it like you would a liner or a battleship, saying go there and it turns very very slowly. But in the same way even with the Anaconda you often end up with a better result, and you’ll see this in Multicrew, if you go with turrets. So it wouldn’t be a case of a giant ship being flown by one person with one big gun pointing down the length. That’s the way it would work, but whether it fits with the game that’s another question. We already have big balance issues when people arrive with 100’s of 1000’s of tonnes of cargo. It’s an issue, shall we say.”

Additional SRV’s
It’s been confirmed that more of these would become available but only when the specific game play opportunities are right. The use of SRV’s to do mining on planets will appear, but David Braben has said during the PAX live stream on the 10th March 2017 that there is no ETA.

Vehicles-Elite-Dangerous-Concept-Art
Artwork for possible alternate SRV designs
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Artwork for possible alternate SRV design

Planetary Aircraft/Landing Vehicles
Other forms of vehicles for travelling around the surfaces of planets are planned. Some of these may only arrive when the suitable planetary landing types and other mechanics are available in-game.

NPC Crew
The ability to hire NPC Crew is a much requested feature of the game that was first mentioned in the early design discussions,

“Wingmen in Elite will provide players with the ability to, for a price, protect themselves with AI companions. For a limited period, these companions will escort the player and aid them by attacking aggressors. Players will need to be careful who they hire though, some will follow the letter of the law, others may decide that you are a juicy target, betraying you when you least expect it.”

The first sign of them in-game appeared in 2.2 – The Guardians when it became possible to hire three crew, with one of them joining you on your ship. On the more advanced version Sandro Sammarco commented, during the Beta 3.0 Q&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.”

There have been many requests for hired NPC crew not to die when your ship is destroyed (as is currently the case). Sandro Sammarco commented on the 28th February 2018,

“We have some ideas for preventing fighter crew death whilst retaining some form of jeopardy, but we haven’t got round to implementing them.

“Clearly we don’t want a situation where crew can always be saved, this would mean that everyone would only ever hire one or two fighter crew. However, we accept that the current situation is too harsh in terms of investment versus risk. Look for more information in a future update.”

NPC Wing men
During the Horizons Live Stream back in December 2014, David Braben confirmed Frontier wanted to do NPC Wingmen, it’s mentioned in the Design Discussion Forums and in a Q&A Live Stream and again on the forums Sandro Sammarco said,

“No ETA’s, no guarantees, but we are looking at it at the moment, it’s a cool concept – but we’re absolutely not going to guarantee it.” […] “This is something we still haven’t reached a decision on. The idea of NPC wing men is totally cool, but there are some interesting issues, mainly revolving around balance. What we’d prefer to avoid is a wing man being a “no-brainer” in terms of effectiveness.”

During a Q&A regarding Wing Missions in the Beyond series of updates, it was asked whether NPC Wing men would make an appearances, to which the reply was given,

“Not at this time, no.”

NPC SRV’s
These could be making an appearance but have been described as a “whole bucket of work” and something they want to do when the appropriate game play opportunities arise.

Persistent NPC’s
The idea of having repeated interactions with NPC’s was originally mentioned in the early design discussions and has been requested many times by players. In Elite there are three sorts of NPC’s (as per the early design discussions) of which TIer 1 and Tier 3 are the most feature complete,

Tier 1 – These are major characters within the game world, for example Planetary Presidents, Major Corporation CEO’s and top ranking crime bosses. Typically the player will interact with tier 2 characters associated with the tier 1 character rather than directly with the tier 1 character. Examples are:

  • Players do not interact with these characters directly.
  • The character is common to all online players.
  • The character is created via an in-game invent – typically manually.
  • The character can only be killed by an in-game event.
  • A tier 2 character can be promoted to tier 1, but only by an event.

Tier 2 – These characters that persist for players, but can be interacted with directly. There is a per player list of tier 2 characters and they are identified by the following characteristics:

  • Faction leader underlings that the player deals directly with
  • Mission targets
  • Mission providers
  • Pilots of NPC vessels that the player has previously interacted with
  • Player contacts

Tier 3 – These characters are transient characters that are created when traffic is generated, these are typically pilots for NPC ships. Tier 3 characters are randomly generated from a global pool as needed. Examples are:

  • Pilots for generated traffic
  • Passengers

During an AMA with David Braben he commented when asked about the subject that,

“It’s something we are looking at for the future.”

Station Variations

Greater variations in station interiors were made to the 2.2 – The Guardians update. David Braben also confirmed that they would like to do more with the look of stations in terms of them looking more run down etc., but that graphically this is a lot of work. He also replied,

“Maybe :)”

when asked during a Reddit AMA if it were possible that the game might see some “abandoned/destroyed space stations, asteroid bases or mega ships?”. This was also commented on by Dav Stott in a live stream when he answered the following question…

Q: Will there be an effort to make the background simulation more visible and audible from out of your spaceship’s cockpit? Having the look and audio of stations and settlements change depending on system states, for example.

A: Nothing to announce today, but planet bases already change decals if faction changes. (since Horizons launch). Nothing more to announce at the moment.

Hull Repair & Tracker Limpets
During a March 2017 Q&A and again before the release of 3.0, Sandro Sammarco commented that Frontier were looking at introducing hull repair and tracking limpets. The later would presumably be of interest to bounty hunters and pirates although no confirmation of how they might work has yet been given. On the 12th May 2017 Sandro Sammarco commented,

“Some form of bounty tracker has been on the “big list” for some time – the concept definitely something we like, whether it’s a limpet, some form of tie-in with wake scanning, or something else. Of course, there are some technical challenges to overcome, so no ETA or guarantee, but I think we’re all on the same page here.”

Limpet Controller Rack
Due to the increasing number of limpets available in the game Frontier have said that they will look at introducing a Limpet controller rack that will store a number of controllers in them.

CQC Updates/Bots
The ability to play CQC against AI controlled ships was something that Frontier have said to be keen on (Sandro Sammarco comment on 6th December Live stream), but realise it’s considerable amount of work. During the Reddit AMA for 2.3 David Braben also commented that changes to CQC were probably not likely any time soon as,

“…the player counts mean this isn’t a high priority, I’m afraid.”

Module & Commodity Storage
Module storage appeared in the 2.2 – The Guardians update. Before the launch of 3.0 module storage was increased to 120 items.
 Sandro Sammarco confirmed that at some point there would be “limited storage”, and that it was near the ‘top of their list’ but couldn’t give a date. During Gamescom Sandro Sammarco said that Frontier were looking at allowing some storage of materials at Engineers bases in relation to the creation of blueprints.


> AUDIO DESIGN

>
Frontier’s audio design is recognised as being one of the highlights of Elite: Dangerous and they have proven keen to expand it wherever possible. This looks as though it will continue as the game progresses.

Galnet Audio
In a change to the way Galnet delivers its news it will now have the ability to deliver them via audio to the players. This appears in the Beyond: Chapter 1 update.

Other In-Game Audio

Following the release of the 2.4 Beta, the patch notes revealed that,

“The radio chatter system works differently under the hood now, enabling us to do cool magic chatter based things in the future.”

This follows on from previous comments back in 2015 where Frontier said they would like to make changes to NPC Communications,

“NPC comms is still on the cards {…} The tier 2 NPCs is likely to change, but we need to see how other factors like NPC comms fit in and what we can take from there.”

[…]

“We also want to look at chatter providing hints and clues to hidden or secretive events like treasure hunts.”

During a Reddit AMA when asked about the use of voices for NPC ships, Jim Croft head of audio commented,

“It’s a huge undertaking to avoid repetition. I would like to use speech synthesis and do it procedurally.”

Ship Call Signs
This appears in the Beyond: Chapter 1 update. In reply to a question asking whether station announcers would change your call sign to that of your Ship ID, Sandro Sammarco commented,

“This is something they are looking to and the audio team are keen on this.”


> ALIENS & THE GUARDIANS

>
The release of 2.4: The Return saw the Thargoids return to Elite.

On the evening of the  the 6th January 2017 Cmdr. DP Sayre became the first pilot to be pulled out of witch space by an unknown alien species, thought to be a Thargoid. You can read about it here or get the full lowdown on the Official Forum or on Reddit. Additionally, find out more about Thargoid lore via Elite author Drew Wagner, here.

David Braben also confirmed that there would be other alien races aside from the Thargoids, one of which have already been discovered in game. There are said to be some things currently in game (as of 21/12/16) that have not yet been found, aliens possibly included.

At Expo 2017 Frontier confirmed that ‘The Guardians’ story line would return in the first quarter release of 2018 as well as releasing a recap video of the story.


> MYSTERIES

>
During a stream David Braben confirmed that there were still a number of undiscovered secrets in the game, including the mysterious Raxxla, which has been present since the launch of Elite: Dangerous.


> POWERPLAY

Changes to Powerplay were originally suggested by Sandro Sammarco in this thread. You can see these below, note they are not guaranteed changes at the time of writing, just proposals.

Following the release of the Beyond series Community Manager Will Flanagan commented,

“We hear your concerns and feedback on Powerplay in and outside of this thread. We’ll be evaluating and looking into some of the proposed solutions Sandro detailed in his post here. This is an on-going investigation and nothing is confirmed at the moment, but rest assured that we will let you know when we have updates regarding this.”

Powerplay – Open Only & Incentives?

Sandro Sammarco asked the question about whether Powerplay should be an ‘open only’ mode and mentioned the possibility of incentives for those doing so. The discussion can be seen here and here.Any changes to this would not be seen in the short or medium term.

Other previous suggested changes include the following:

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.”


Before the ideas posted above, Sandro suggested some others which can be seen below.

Ability to toggle Powerplay status to be active or hidden, through either an option/decal/skin. Significant enforced cool downs when hiding your Powerplay status before you get the benefits.

Ability to “up vote” or “down vote” a system involved in Powerplay action. Other commanders from your power would see this up/down-vote data as a very clean, contextual communication of ideas. Importantly, you’d be able to see totals for both up/down votes for systems involved with Powerplay.

Outside of Powerplay, commanders can pledge as a System’s Freedom Fighter, so they can Undermine and Oppose in that System, effectively working with opposing powers to weaken the controlling power’s presence. Freedom Fighters would possibly be valid targets in any system controlled or exploited by any power that shared a major faction with the one being attacked by the freedom fighter. Freedom Fighters limited to support one system at a time, with a cool down or some mission to “wipe” their status clean.

More dovetailing between minor factions and powers, beyond the government versus ethos effect that currently exists. Benefits and penalties of ethos versus government scale per exploited system rather than at a set 50%.

Voting system will allow Powers to withdraw from poor control systems, with mechanisms to prevent withdrawal from profitable systems. Same voting system will stop poor control system candidates from being purchased as expansion targets.

Combo mechanism for fortification allotments, limiting the purchase of rushed allotments based on successful deliveries – more deliveries allow more paid rushes – whilst adding temporary fortification disbarring for losing fortification commodities.

Success multiplier for CMDRs in Open Play, magnifying the effectiveness of handed-in vouchers for Power actions (expand, oppose, fortify, undermine). At a minimum this will double the Powerplay effectiveness of CMDRs in Open compared to Group/Solo. Personal rewards will not be affected.

Gaining fortification vouchers for killing CMDRs supporting rival Powers in your own Power’s control systems.

Each Power to have one super-focussed undermine attempt per cycle, which can be countered by over-fortification.

A long and healthy topic on the official forum can be found here. Also thanks to StuartGT and Golgot 100 on Reddit for some the above information.


> CQC/ELITE RACERS

>
During a live stream before the release of the 2.1 Engineers Frontier mentioned that they had been ‘playing with some new technology’ that might be put to use in creating racetracks on planets. Previously Michael Brookes has said that more CQC maps would be released during the Horizons season.


> MODDING

>
This was briefly mentioned a year or so before the original release but has not been commented upon (nor asked about) since, with the exception of ruling out players having the ability to author their own missions due to the complex nature of the mission creation system.

Modding tools were another big request that we received for future updates. Giving players the chance to author their own scenarios and missions, or create completely new content would enrich the game even further and create completely new communities around the game. For this reason modding tools are also planned for the future, although not until much further down the line:

Sandy: Yes we would like to but definitely not until a number of updates have gone out. Probably as part of update 5 or later.

Michael: We do want to support modding, but as this requires considerable support this will be some time down the line.


> DIRECTX 12

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David Braben has said that he expects the game would take up the use of DirectX 12, but not immediately. What is DirectX 12?

On the 19th September 2016 David Braben announced that Frontier planned to drop its support for Win32 and DirectX 10 in approximately 6 months time. This would he explained give,

“Principally better performance and prettier effects, but it should also help with dev time […] Obscure bugs can take a disproportionate amount of dev and QA time.”


> OTHER PLATFORMS

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Frontier have confirmed that Elite: Dangerous will appear on the Xbox One X and have full 4k support. Other details are not yet known but will follow.

Elite for Linux has been the most longstanding platform request. Frontier commented back during the Kickstarter,

“Yes. It would be great. The PC version comes first though, and then we will look at the demand for other platforms. If the game exceeds its target, then there will be scope to increase the number of platforms. We will discuss with the backers in the design discussion forum, and how to address the issues that will arise, but I have every hope that we will cover some or all of these platforms.”

There’s a longstanding thread on the Frontier forums discussing the possibility, here.

Previously Frontier released Elite: Dangerous for the PC, Mac (base game only), Xbox and PS4.


> CROSS PLATFORM PLAY

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David commented during the Christmas 2016 live stream that there were,

“Practical reasons for various platforms. There are things that we will resolve over time but no promises. Microsoft didn’t ‘stop it’, it’s more complicated than that, there are other people involved.[57:50] + On moving Cmdrs between platforms, no plans, but can look at it later.”