Elite Dangerous will revamp the newbie experience in September, add fleet carriers in December

    
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Fresh outta Gamescom is the news that Elite Dangerous is cooking up multiple updates for commanders across the galaxy.

First up: the September Update. Launching September 17th for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, this patch will overhaul the newbie experience with a “fully-voiced, in-ship tutorial, covering the basics of space flight, combat, traveling and scanning,” plus it’ll retool Frontier Points into a new currency dubbed Arx that’ll be buyable out-of-game and earnable in-game too.

The bigger news for veterans, however, is the December update, which will finally add Fleet Carriers to the game so you can put your ships inside of your other ships. “These huge ships can support up to 16 player ships and are available to ANY Elite Dangerous Commander to purchase (one per player, they’re really big),” Frontier says. They’re also gonna cost you a damn fortune!

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

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PhoenixDfire

The new Newbie Experience is one of the things that has been lacking in Elite and I welcome it. The new player experience has always faced two problems;-

  1. The Starting Tutorials – They’ve always been weak. It’s hard for veteran players to understand the problems that newbie’s face in this game because once you’ve managed to master the basics, they become second nature. Mastering these basic skills, flight, docking and super cruising takes a while and I’m hoping these new tutorials will ease new players in before they’re thrown into the galaxy.
  2. The Griefing Factor – What Most MMO players should know is; you need to leave the newbies alone. This wasn’t the case in Elite Dangerous. Too many new players were jumped on by experienced griefers because it’s easy to kill newbies that way. To solve this, there is now a newbie area where more experienced players are not allowed. It will help new players to master those basics I mentioned above and give them a taste of what’s to come.

The problem is that there are attitudes in the Elite community who think the new tutorials are a sign of the game dumbing down, when in fact, the game is still as complex and challenging as it’s always been. These tutorials should open up the game for people, not make it too easy for them. Veteran players who have cut their teeth on old space games (X-Wing, Wing Commander, Freespace etc) forget how daunting Elite is for someone who’s never played a space sim like this is and those games were a long time ago, so there’s a lot of people who’ve never played anything like this before.

Mind you, I would never learn how to fly the ships with mouse and keyboard (shudders), That’s just plain wrong. ;-)

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Robert Basler

A better intro would be nice. My first game I was arrested and put on a prison planet in the first minute. Second game I played a couple of unbelievably frustrating hours trying to figure out how to do anything and I got a confusing in-game email for my efforts. Never did figure out what I was supposed to be doing.

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Nick // Genghis

What do you WANT to do? Do you want to pirate? Do you want to be a trader? Do you want to hunt bounties? Do you want to mine? Find something that speaks to you and then ‘head’ in that direction. There’s a huge learning curve to getting into most activities in the game and that turns a lot of people off. It’s a sandbox that doesn’t really give a crap about the player. It’s not for folks that want even marginal amounts of hand holding. Watch this and procede: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLsHmTe-4MU

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Tee Parsley

And apparently they have realized that this attitude is affecting their sales. IE, livelihood.

I refunded my purchase almost immediately. Maybe I’ll check it out in September, just to make the point.

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Nick // Genghis

So a huge commitment that David Braben (Lead Designer of both the 80s and this current iteration of E:D) has stated, his intention with his games is to encourage learning while also having fun and playing around at your own discretion. If you’re not directly invested into the idea of being released as a tiny speck in a 1:1 Milky Way Galaxy, paired with a high skill ceiling flight sim based on technology that are grounded in reality, and a background reputation simulator running in the background that reacts to both faction gameplay as well as individual contributions, I just don’t think the game is for you. As for their livelihood being effected, I’m sure we could speculate and say it effected them in some facet, but they also released 2 other objectively great games as a result of resource shifting: Jurassic World Evolution, Planet Coaster, and soon Planet Zoo will be added to that so we’ll see on that one. Overall, I think Frontier is doing just fine, especially without a publisher to back it all.

There are plenty of ways to pursue information via the great thing called the internet that allow you to get a better feel for anything in the game. Trading tools, exploration mappers, communities involved in PvP, RP, Exploration, and combat. I have a feeling that this won’t be a game changing update and will likely (including myself) not bring back many veterens unlike the December update which is something substantial. As someone with over 850 hours in the game and many of my friends that played with over 500+ hours, those initial 10-20 hours was LEARNING. Learning together. Learning alone. Failing. Failing incredibly hard, and learning from that. It is punishing I admit, but that’s the joy in making mistakes in a game. Taking those experience and then relaying our particular finds to one another and improving as a group. I truly believe this game relies heavily upon player to player interactions and reaching out and asking for help and/or seeking it out on their own. There are literally hundred people groups dedicated to training newbies that you can find by a simple google or reddit search. Our collective hope for the game resides on other features besides the new player experience, sorry to say.

A game that allows for large mistakes early on, makes players 1. either ragequit or 2. persevere and continue to improve. Think of almost any FPS game. You might be ok, but not great. You might suck, but still be ok and contribute. It’s about putting in the reps and improving your own skills and forging a path in the game. It won’t be easy, it shouldn’t be easy. This is a simulator. The game doesn’t give ANY awards or accolades besides the Big 3: Exploration, Trading, and Combat which take several several hundreds of hours to obtain. The only ‘tangible’ awards come from improving mechanically and efficiency while flying and piloting your given ship(s) better. Just like learning to drive. As you become better, you feel yourself getting better and more confident, but there isn’t a thing in your dashboard going, ‘Great job! You entered and exited the highway at appropriate speed and didn’t get into an accident! And, you remembered to fill up at an appropriate time before you ran out of fuel so you wouldn’t be stuck on the side of the highway!’ Along these lines, the fact that it’s taken this long for a New Player Update (which I feel like this has been the headline for basically every QOL update for the last 2 years with little to no changes tbh) and the Fleet Carriers for a more guild-like, group- focused content for credit sinks, we are all far passed caring, but still love the game deeply and wish it well and revisit often for shiggles here and there.

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Robert Basler

I wanted to do the tutorial and have some fun. I bought a fancy joystick just to play it because I love spaceship games and here finally was a new spaceship game.

Unfortunately the tutorial told you what to do (turn on your hydrospanner!!) but not how to do it. I spent 30 frustrating minutes slowly bouncing off a landing pad because I couldn’t figure out why the ship wouldn’t land. I’d go google each problem I ran into, skim 3 or four articles that talked about the finer points of whatever it was (but not actually how to do it) then find out I need to press ctrl-alt-J. I did this over and over during the tutorial.

It was excruciating. I can’t imagine how that tutorial ever got past the first playtester.

If there were pirates or trading or bounties or mines, I never saw any of that. I failed at the tutorial.

I watched that video, that’s about as far as I got in 2 hours.

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Nick // Genghis

So you never went and looked at your keybindings? Even after purchasing a new joystick in order to enjoy a game you’re potentially interested in playing with it?

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Robert Basler

Actually I did. I looked through the keybinding menu, all over the in-game cockpit to see if the things the tutorial was talking about might be a button, and through the dozens of menus on three different cockpit screens. I did this over and over as each new problem came up while the tutorial yelled at me to “turn down the bandersnatch!”

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EmberStar

Elite’s tutorials are terrible. Full stop. They offer no explanation of *how* to do anything, they just assume you already know the arcane keyboard combinations needed for each function. The keybinding menu is somehow both incredibly complicated, and amazingly useless at trying to figure it out, since from what little I remember it defaults to showing the layout for a joystick. Keyboard commands are set, but not visible unless you click on the setting (and risk accidentally changing it.)

I never got as far as the “What should I be? An astronaut, a robot, a hobo, a clown! Or an alien creature going out on the town!” Because I couldn’t even find the switch for opening the communication panel. (And yes, I also had purchased a new joystick in anticipation of spending a lot of time playing Elite. Full price for the game, and $70 for the joystick, wasted. The Elite tutorials suck, HARD.)

I’m glad they’re finally considering updating it so that the tutorials are actually designed around helping new players, rather than people who already have 500 hours in the game.

*edit* Additionally, if I have to exit the game to continually look up every tiny little detail (rather than the game being designed in such a way that the information is presented or at least accessible) I have a strong tendency to just STOP at the “exit the game” step. I don’t have unlimited amounts of free time, and if a game doesn’t want to be played, I’m not interested in fighting it for the chance to do so. And Elite very much felt like I was fighting the game ITSELF when trying to do everything.

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EmberStar

I personally would have settled for “finish the tutorials.” I got as far as the one where you’re supposed to contact a space station and request docking permission. And when I tried it, that was *exactly* as much guidance as I got. Not even suggested keyboard shortcuts. I spent five minutes combing through the keybind options menu, followed by just pressing random keys trying to bring up any kind of communication panel. I *did* succeed in activating the turbo boost and crashing into the station at full speed.

In a flight sim, a steep learning curve is expected. The learning curve in Elite does loops. :( And I have better things to do with my limited free time than waste it on a game that quite clearly doesn’t want you to play it if you’re not *already* the most hardcore of hardcore flight sim fans.