frontier developments

The studio famous for building Elite: Dangerous.

Elite Dangerous has launched for the PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 players can flock to the Elite Dangerous universe beginning today, thanks to the game’s official launch on that console, complete with adjustments for touchpad controls and even a “fast headlook” mode for wireless controllers.

Elite Dangerous and the Elite Dangerous: Horizons season pass are now available digitally on the PlayStation Store as standalone products or together as part of the Commander Deluxe Edition, complete with the bonus Commander Paint Pack. Elite Dangerous is also available at physical retail stores for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the Elite Dangerous: Legendary Edition, featuring Elite Dangerous, the Elite Dangerous: Horizons season pass and a bonus 1,000 Frontier Points for purchasing in-game cosmetic items.”

Meanwhile, players have made yet another discovery in the Thargoid storyline. We’ve embedded the launch trailer and new lore bits below!

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LOTRO Legendarium: Mirkwood, the best zone no one remembers

The other day I was continuing on with my Bingo Boffin adventures in Lord of the Rings Online when Mr. Boffin decided he was going to sneak his way across battle lines and into Mirkwood Forest. Like most of his encounters, I don’t think he ended up loving it quite as much as he anticipated, but you know what? I did.

You see, ever since Siege of Mirkwood came out with LOTRO’s second expansion, I’ve always been quite partial to this odd little zone in Middle-earth. Perhaps this makes me the odd man out among the community; I rarely see anyone speak highly of Mirkwood (or, these days, speak of it at all). It seems like it’s forgotten, this strange cul-de-sac of the game world that only exists to be a stopping point on the epic story before players have to turn around and go back the way they came.

Yet as I was running all over the place trying to secure first AND second breakfastses for Bingo Boffin, I was reminded of how much I love this zone. I’d even say that Mirkwood is in my top five zones of the game as a whole (alongside The Shire, Forochel, West Rohan, and North Ithilien). It’s time this forgotten land got some recognition, so here goes.

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Aliens from 1984 swarm into Elite Dangerous with Horizons 2.4

For a good long while, it seemed as though Elite Dangerous players were all alone in their gigantic galaxy playground. Then came the discovery of alien remnants and evidence of life, suggesting that the devs had more up their sleeve. But little did players know that first contact was about to become second contact with one of the franchise’s most notorious enemies.

Frontier announced this week that with Horizons 2.4, the Thargoids would arrive in the game after a long absence from the series. The truly alien race that hails from an ammonia world made its debut in the original 1984 game as a threat that players encountered and had to overcome.

The Return update is coming in Q3 2017 and will bring the Thargoids and their eight-sided spaceships into the modern era with story events and inevitable battles. The dev team cautions players that if they fail to stand up to the aliens, they could see the galaxy slowly consumed by the Thargoids.

“What happens next will be decided by every Elite Dangerous player,” said Frontier CEO David Braben. Check out The Return trailers after the jump!

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E3 2017: Ubisoft announces Skull and Bones, a multiplayer pirate sandbox

Sea of Thieves, you have a new challenger in the realm of MMOsy pirate games: Ubisoft just announced Skull and Bones at E3. The game looks gorgeous and boasts a “shared open world” that reacts to players, seeming character customization (“choose your captain, recruit your crew, and build deadly ships”), PvP in the “disputed waters,” and fun piratey fluff like spyglasses and realistic wind navigation.

“It is the Golden Age of Piracy. Renegade captains command the most powerful weapons on Earth: warships. You are a pirate captain who has refused the king’s pardon and sailed from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean, an untamed frontier full of lavish riches. However, these waters are also a battleground where far-reaching colonial empires, powerful trading corporations, and ruthless pirate gangs clash. In order to survive, you will have to build a lethal fleet, prey upon lucrative trade routes, and ally with other pirates in your endless struggle for supremacy.”

“We’re not making Black Flag 2.0,” Ubisoft says in the new trailer. “We’re making our own game. But we really went to school on what we’ve done in the past.” Check out the videos for the whole overview.

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Elite Dangerous maneuvers to counter exploiters

You might think that after decades of online gaming and what’s surely millions of accounts across all the games sanctioned for cheating, people would think twice about exploiting. You might think that, but you’d be wrong.

Elite Dangerous is one such game dealing with exploits and exploiters. Last week, Frontier issued what seems a gentle warning ahead of its PlayStation 4 launch later this month: Knock it off.

“Just wanted to let you know that we’ve identified accounts that have engaged in repeated and deliberate use of a game exploit which allowed people to gain a significant and unfair advantage with Engineering; we will be reviewing and taking action where we feel it is appropriate,” CMDR Sticks writes, asking players to help report cheaters and threatening cheaters with bans. “The development team are working on a fix for this exploit and we will give you an update on this as soon as we have it.”

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Watch the winning video from Elite Dangerous’ CTRL+ALT+SPACE 2017 short film competition

Last night, Elite Dangerous studio Frontier announced the winner of its second CTRL+ALT+SPACE short film competition. Participants were tasked with creating a video under four minutes using Elite’s camera suite; whether the entry was a trailer or film, the devs were “looking to be dazzled” and were judging on “creativity, originality, ingenuity, […] editing, narrative, and scene composition.”

And now they’ve got a winner: Turjan Starstone and his video dubbed Stardust, created as a tribute to his mother.

“I wrote this to honour the memory of my mother who passed away in March 2015,” he says. “Sadly my mother never got to see the misadventures of Cmdr Turjan. I know she would have been proud of them though. She would have been proud of ‘Stardust’ too, though I suspect she might have tutted at me for being sentimental, because like I say in the video, my mother was indeed a formidable lady.”

He’ll take home in-game rewards along with a video capture card, headset, keyboard, and gaming mousepad. Beautiful work, Turjan. Enjoy it, everyone.

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Elite Dangerous launches for PS4 on June 27

We’ve known since last year that Elite Dangerous was going to set up camp on the PlayStation 4 in Q2 of this year. As of this morning, we know exactly when: June 27th.

“Frontier Developments, a leading independent creator of video games, is pleased to announce that Elite Dangerous will make its debut on the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system on 27 June 2017. Digital pre-orders are available from today in Europe and will be available later this month in the United States. In addition to a worldwide digital launch there will be simultaneous availability in leading physical retail stores in major territories of the Elite Dangerous Legendary Edition boxed disc for both PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.”

Frontier notes that players shouldn’t expect crossplay: You’ll “share the same background simulation, but you won’t be able to cross play directly with Commanders on other platforms.”

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Perfect Ten: Exploring MMORPGs from the far corners of the world

Have you ever noticed that while there’s an entire world out there, most all of the MMORPGs we discuss and play tend to either be ones crafted in the USA or imports from China or Korea? We even have a shorthand for this: “western” and “eastern” MMOs. We’re usually not talking about entire hemispheres with these references, but rather about categorizing three countries that are big into the MMORPG business.

But what about the rest of the world? Are all of these other countries so uncaring about this genre that they’ve never tried their hand at making an MMO? Of course not; as I’m about to show you, there are plenty of online RPGs that have been made in countries other than China, the USA, and South Korea. It’s just that for various reasons, those three countries ended up fostering concentrations of video game developers who knew how to create these types of games.

So let’s take a tour around the world and see if we can’t give some credit to other countries for their contributions to the MMORPG genre past, present, and future. Before you click the link, see how many you can name off the top of your head!

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Elite Dangerous’ novel-concluding Salomé event was wrecked by long-con griefers

Last week, we reported on an impending roleplaying event in Elite Dangerous that was set to influence the outcome of Premonition, a game-based novel by author Drew Wagar. What players did during the event to hunt down or defend accused assassin Salomé was expected to be incorporated into the book, including NPCs being killed off permanently.

I’m sad to report that while many players did rush to Salomé’s (as played by Wagar himself) defense, the event was predictably run off the rails by players. First, a multi-guild faction calling itself Premonition Allied Coalition (PAC), which was sanctioned by Wagar and ostensibly there to protect the NPC, allegedly began threatening and attacking non-PAC players who arrived in the event locations, causing extreme uproar across the Elite subreddit.

And that, according to Ars Technica, is when the chaos really began, as amid the pandemonium, Salomé’s ship was actually destroyed by a PAC member who was in fact a mole named Harry Potter (sigh) from gleeful and notorious Elite griefer group Smiling Dog Crew, who had convinced PAC it could be trusted this time, and MMO players for some reason believed them.

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Elite Dangerous’ community tool developers have gone on strike

Update: The strike has ended — see the end of the post for details.

Move over, voice actors guild: Elite Dangerous gamers are going on strike today. Specifically, it’s developers of a large number of Elite Dangerous third-party tools and websites, who have taken their services offline beginning today through Sunday, striking to attempt to force Frontier to better support them.

“Our third-party websites and tools are used on a daily basis by many tens of thousands of players, and they generate millions of pageviews every month. We believe that our tools greatly enhance the game playing experience, and yet we often feel that Frontier does not actively encourage the effort that goes into supporting their game with these tools. We believe they can and should improve on this situation by maintaining clear and open communication with the third-party developer community. There is currently no easy way for us to request features and support that will benefit the community as a whole, and there is often no warning from Frontier when a game update will alter or break existing APIs that we rely on. This places a significant extra burden on third-party tool makers to work around these issues and to fix our tools. Repeated requests for support and bug fixes are made, but there is frustration caused by an apparent lack of progress on those.”

The strikers have apologized for the inconvenience, but the timing couldn’t be worse for the players affected by the outages in light of the massive event planned this weekend, during which players will be participating in a roleplaying event whose outcome will affect the game’s upcoming novel.

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This in-game Elite Dangerous event will affect the game’s novelization

Cancel your plans for Saturday, folks: You’re gonna want to be in Elite Dangerous. That’s because Frontier has a big event planned that day that ties into the upcoming Premonition novel. In fact, what players do during the event to hunt down (or defend!) accused assassin Salomé will actually affect the book — and the “NPCs” could be killed off permanently.

“I am inviting all of you to take part in an in-game event, the outcome of which will decide how this chapter in the Elite Dangerous storyline concludes,” writes author Drew Wagar. “The book will be written by your combined actions, for good, or for ill…”

In other Elite news, Frontier has recently announced it’ll release Elite as a boxed console-oriented “legendary edition” at brick-and-mortar stores.

In still other Elite news, players have finally discovered one of the original 70,000 Generation sub-light ships that are part of the game’s foundational lore. It’s floating near the Alaunus system, but I’m sad to report that it doesn’t look like any of the colonists escaped the epidemic that ravaged the ship all those years ago — but it’s still pretty cool.

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One Shots: Lights, camera, frogs!

Just because you happen to be a humanoid frog doesn’t mean that you’ve lost at the lottery of life. On the contrary, you have all sorts of advantages, such as being able to install and replace light fixtures very high in your underground cavern. Also, you can eat flies.

Reader Finyar starts us out this week with a stunning interior location from a fan-favorite MMO: “I’m currently playing Guild Wars 2 again and I’m always impressed with how beautifully crafted the game world is.”

Art matters, people. Also, why can’t we play more frogs in online games?

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Elite Dangerous promises bug-squashing patch by early May

Update: The devs have shifted the ETA to April 25th; we’ve updated below.

While Elite Dangerous’ community should be celebrating over the addition of player-created avatars and multi-crew ships with Horizons Update 2.3, instead they’re dealing with one of the buggiest updates to date for the space sim. Even following a rollback last week of the background sim data that manages political factions, there are still numerous issues that have yet to be resolved.

The good news is that there’s a patch coming to take care of much of this. The bad news is that players are going to have to wait until next month to see fixes for the login bugs, stability issues, weird errors, and frame rate drops.

“We’ve seen your feedback with regards to a number of bugs in the latest update,” Frontier reported on the forums, “and the development team have been busy working on a release that focuses on fixing a large number of the common complaints. The release is currently scheduled for early May.”

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