Elite Dangerous drops the first part of Beyond this quarter, with beta launching January 25

We’re guessing there are lots of new Elite Dangerous players roaming around now, what with the game having been just 7 bucks on Steam over Christmas, but that just means a bigger playerbase to cheer today’s news. Early this morning, Frontier announced that the game’s third season of content is on the way, beginning with Elite Dangerous: Beyond – Chapter One (they have never been good at names, let’s be honest) coming in “Q1 2018.” The beta itself for the new content will be free for all players and begin on January 25.

“Launching Q1 2018, Elite Dangerous: Beyond – Chapter One is the first update of Elite Dangerous’ third season, following the Thargoids devastating assault on humanity’s starports. Beyond advances the ongoing player-driven narrative and introduces a variety of gameplay enhancements, upgrading the gameplay experience whether players prefer to trade, fight or explore in Elite Dangerous’ massively multiplayer galaxy.”

Of note, Frontier is touting team-based objective-oriented wing missions, retooled planet-rendering tech, updates to the data trading system, in-game audio news updates, tweaks to engineering mechanics, a new ship, revamps for mission rewards, and “an altered crime and punishment system.”

Elite took home Massively OP’s best indie or crowdfunded MMO of the year last month.

Source: Official site, press release. Thanks, Cotic and Colin!
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ultimategnome
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ultimategnome

What makes the narrative player-driven? Nothing. Like a lot of FD’s claims for this game, “ongoing player-driven narrative” is pure bull.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Beyond advances the ongoing player-driven narrative…

What makes the narrative player-driven? Do they mean the CG’s or am I missing something? If they mean the CG’s, I find this claim laughable. Nevertheless:

Of note, Frontier is touting team-based objective-oriented wing missions, …

this is really encouraging, and if it provides engaging content, I will be checking the game again. I am a bit skeptical though, since the missions received many overhauls over the years, and even though they were mostly towards the right direction, they did not change much.

CMDR Crow
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CMDR Crow

What makes the narrative player-driven? Do they mean the CG’s or am I missing something? If they mean the CG’s, I find this claim laughable.

Just because you aren’t involved in Open Powerplay doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The war between the powers is very, very real. I spend most of my time in game directly opposing Imperial pilots and Imperial power moves. Things have been very interesting lately with the heat really turning up in the Fed v. Imp conflict. Fighting over a few important, if tiny, systems on the larger warfront.

There’s one hell of a player-driven narrative out there if you want to find it. But it requires playing mostly in open and coordinating with a group.

We seriously muck around with the Background Sim a ton. Support minor factions that assist in spreading our power’s influence (because stuff like that matters.) From directly opposing enemy players to working for small minor powers… players literally shape the whole galaxy’s power structure.

And it is easy to not see this because the effects aren’t at all shoved in your face. Every time you complete a mission or really do anything for any faction in Elite you’re contributing a small amount toward their influence and power. When you fight for a side in a War, you’re literally upping their control numbers versus the opposition faction and whoever wins actually does get the prize.

It can be hard to see the “narrative” because no one player can really effect much on a large scale. You need to coordinate with a larger group and work in Open Play to uncover the hidden, hermetic mechanics behind the immensely complex power structures in the galaxy.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Thanks! This is encouraging to hear, and I find it as interesting (if more so) than the scripted Thargoid encounters. Nevertheless:

And it is easy to not see this because the effects aren’t at all shoved in your face.

I think this is where Frontier gets it wrong. I do not mind a separate pilot not making a difference, the whole “you are the one” trope is getting old, but war is no small thing, they should have made a system with more substantial objectives and effects of the outcome of group efforts and conflicts. I am also surprised and a bit skeptical because such efforts are not exposed, for example by excellent content creators of the game such as ObsidianAnt (I follow him occasionally to see if something happens that will grab me back in the game).

I remember a CG once, I think around spring 2017, that created a war zone between Imperials and Feds with capital ships from both sides (it was the most fun I had in the game), and everyone was expecting a follow-up, but the following days proved to be very anti-climactic.

But it requires playing mostly in open and coordinating with a group.

I might have missed something, but when I looked up in the forums for grouping proposals, and the most interesting ones were the ones for Powerplay – and I still feel this system can become great but currently falls short of its mission. I am still hoping they add something there with squadrons later this year. The most “interesting” group efforts I can discern is the Fuel Rats and the Canonn research group, but I am not interested in the first (their idea is commendable though) and the second does not qualify as player-driven.

It’s not that such thing as “player-driven” content does not exist in the game, it is just that it is so skinny that I find using it as a punchline by Frontier really far-fetched.

EDIT: Also, one thing that I mentioned in our previous discussion and I feel E:D player-driven content really lacks is causality: what difference will it make contesting one system over the other? How does it impact the world? I really felt that this was the weak spot of the Powerplay and the BGS: it does not provide real motives to drive the player actions – unless you are really sold on being a spaceship pilot, in which case it is the piloting experience and immersion that keeps you in the game, and the fact that there is no real competition on that front yet – not the player driven content.

CMDR Crow
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CMDR Crow

Elite is a game that, thankfully, doesn’t hold your hand much beyond getting semi-comfortable. I’ve been playing since a little after launch, and I am still constantly finding new-to-me gameplay elements that suck me waaaaay back in. I never learned how to use limpets until a month or two ago. I’ve never mined. I’m just beginning, really, to do PvP and CAP for my power. I didn’t even touch combat until 2+ years of flying under my belt.

I think this is where Frontier gets it wrong. I do not mind a separate pilot not making a difference, the whole “you are the one” trope is getting old, but war is no small thing, they should have made a system with more substantial objectives and effects of the outcome of group efforts and conflicts. I am also surprised and a bit skeptical because such efforts are not exposed, for example by excellent content creators of the game such as ObsidianAnt (I follow him occasionally to see if something happens that will grab me back in the game).

Two things here. First is that you’re correct that “War is no small thing” and this is important. A single player *can* make a huge difference. But you have to understand how the Background Sim works to even know what you’re causing. It isn’t a “Do A get B” kind of thing. Influence levels and interactions with other minor factions are what drive the player-driven change. Head into an outbreak system, help them mitigate the spread of disease. It *will* make a difference and with so many systems, it isn’t hard to “adopt” a faction and over a course of weeks see them change their level of power and maybe even take some new stations. The civil wars are actually for determining the control of stations/systems. System state, faction state, faction influence… they’re all important. You don’t put gameplay tokens in and get player-effected rewards. You put in the missions/work/time/whatever and that *helps* the faction contracting the work.

Second, it is funny you bring up Obsidian Ant, as Obsidian Orbital was *just* attacked by Thargoids. He did a whole in-character video and everything. The last week’s CG was directly for a player faction. But if you want to help ObAnt, he will need a shirt-ton of mats to complete repairs after evac.

Otherwise, Beyond sounds like a great re-examination of the base systems. We’ll see what comes, but mission/crime/engineering revisions are going to be, hopefully, really good and create more connection within the galaxy.

If you want to get involved in Powerplay, even just to learn more about how it all works and hang with some super cool people you can find the Dsicord/Subreddit for said power and 99% of the time people are super happy to give a peek into the BGS and more esoteric systems. I’d post our own guide, but that’s for Federation Liberal Command Eyes Only.

Also, keep an eye out. Winters is well on the way to grabbing that top spot from ALD. Forking slavers.

“The corporations bear a responsibility to sustain the basic rights of our citizens.”
“The mistakes of our past cannot be allowed to cloud our future.”
“Our society can only become stronger by lifting those at the bottom, not pushing them further down.”
“We should do what is right, not necessarily what is easy or popular.”

I assure you that Powerplay is SUPER-deep. That depth and difficulty curve make it seem far less than what it is. Wednesday nights before cycle tick are a damn party every week.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Thanks a lot for the tips. I’m gonna do some research on them, I might have missed something on my previous attempts at getting into the game.

ultimategnome
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ultimategnome

players literally shape the whole galaxy’s power structure.

In the imagination of a handful of role-playing players, yes.

In the game itself, no.

There is no “whole galaxy power structure” in Elite Dangerous,. There is no power structure at all, actually. PowerPlay is a shallow tacked-on Risk-like mini-game that borrows the main game map . Its only effect on the rest of the game is to change some text labels on system info pages. By no stretch of the imagination is it narrative, since the only story is what the role-players invent around it.

CMDR Crow
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CMDR Crow

That is a very ignorant take on Powerplay and it just isn’t correct.

The galaxy is shaped by political forces. From the individual commander to the big three (Fed, Imp, Alliance) everything is based on player action incrementally changing the power structure of the galaxy.

Every inhabited system has stations. These stations are controlled by minor factions. Minor factions, many of which have been adopted directly by players, use their influence to shape a system better toward their image and create different contexts for actions. Minor factions expand, contract, boom, bust and go to war. They hold elections and compete against other minor factions for control and influence.

A great deal of Background Sim work is about propping up, supporting and shaping the minor factions. For my team, Winters, we benefit greatly from corporate factions being in control of systems we desire to work within. Communists, for example, make our job harder. And what faction controls a station/system is based on the net effect of player interaction and support.

This just gets bigger and bigger to the Powerplay. But suffice to say that minor factions, player groups, powerplayers and even random individual players all contribute to the current power structures which are everchanging.

A simple example that works well is the Lockdown state. This is a system state that is triggered by excessive piracy, i.e. players and NPCs engaging in a great deal of illegal activity that isn’t war or political. A system will be locked down, restricting mission/passenger boards specifically due to there needing to be a security lockdown due to high criminality. Once in lockdown, it either has to run it’s course or you can turn in bounties (i.e. remove criminals from the system) to help speed up the lockdown’s duration. Players semi-routinely trigger lockdowns through coordinated efforts. Usually for powerplay or political reasons.

The Background Simulation is super obscure and very difficult to wrap your head around. But just because you don’t understand how it works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. The entire galactic power structure is run through the Background Sim and is dependent on player actions to evoke actual changes and shifts. It is so amazingly complicated and still far from wholly understood. This is the part of Elite that is for spreadsheet people. We run 5+ sheets to track various BGS influences.

ultimategnome
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ultimategnome

“Minor factions, many of which have been adopted directly by players, use their influence to shape a system better toward their image and create different contexts for actions. ”

Adopted by players… in their imaginations. Context for actions… in those player’s imaginations.

Shape a system? No. The only effect is on some text labels.

“The Background Simulation is super obscure and very difficult to wrap your head around. But just because you don’t understand how it works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.”

An just because you imagine it works doesn’t mean it does.

By all means enjoy your imaginative theory-crafted spreadsheet-driven role-play, inspired by the game. Just please don’t try to kid us that any of it is actual gameplay present IN the game .

CMDR Crow
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CMDR Crow

You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Zero. None. No one should take you seriously at all.

I’ll leave it there.

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Koshelkin

I’ll probably give them money for the expansion even though I’m not playing the game. Why? I like to support credible, hard-working, independent developers which do their own thing.

ultimategnome
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ultimategnome

“Launching Q1 2018, Elite Dangerous: Beyond – Chapter One is the first update of Elite Dangerous’ third season”

Sounds like Frontier’s marketing dept. didn’t get the memo. Only a moment ago Frontier’s PR people were insisting to players that Beyond was not a season, and the last report to shareholders says they’ve dropped seasons and switched to an “alternative business model”.

“following the Thargoids devastating assault on humanity’s starports. ”

Yeah, the one that happened only in game flavour text and Frontier’s youtube trailer….

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mysecretid

I give them props for striking when the proverbial iron is hot. Interest in their game is demonstrably up, so it’s a good time to add more content, for sure.

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PhoenixDfire

Wing Missions :- Been waiting for that since 1.2!

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BalsBigBrother

There is a lot of good stuff in there but I have to admit that I am a little worried about the proposed engineer changes. They are stated as supposedly making engineering quicker and more rewarding but I am a bit worried that all they are going to do is change the current grind into a different longer grind.

Time will tell and I suppose I will adapt to the changes no matter what they do as I don’t see myself stopping playing E:D anytime soon.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

Mmm that Chieftain though. Been waiting a good while for that. An overhaul of mission rewards is what I wanted the most and it looks like it’s finally happening. Mission rewards have been all out of whack for a long time now and seeing them doing a proper overhaul is fantastic. I’m also pleased to see that they opened the beta to everyone. In the past they outright sold beta access tickets in the shop which really, really rubbed me the wrong way. Nice to see they dropped that. This is shaping up to be an excellent update.