Elite Dangerous delays fleet carriers to 2020 in favor of multiple clean-up patches

But the paid content coming in 2020 is 'still on schedule'

    
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Frontier hasn’t had the best year when it comes to Elite Dangerous. After a line of patches that were plagued with many issues, notable community members banded together to craft a list of grievances and format a petition to induce Frontier to provide proper patch notes, put patches into open beta for two weeks, and grant test server access to lifetime subbers. Now it seems the planned December update has been delayed too. The update, announced this past summer complete with teaser trailer, was meant to drop massive fleet carriers for the game.

In its letter to players, Frontier says it took to heart players’ feedback after the September update and is now converting the rest of 2019 and part of 2020 to cleaning up “recent and longstanding issues,” with updates coming every three to four months – including the public beta players asked for. The first one’s coming in December.

“As a result of our updated plans, we have made the difficult decision to defer the release of Fleet Carriers. We are now planning for Fleet Carriers to be released in an update in the second quarter of 2020, rather than in December 2019 as previously stated. This will grant us additional time to refine the feature as well as focusing time on addressing existing reported issues. It will also ensure the state of the game is in a better position to introduce Fleet Carriers, that will provide Commanders even more opportunities to interact with the Milky Way. We understand that this delay will be disappointing for some players, but do know that this decision is one that we do not take lightly, and is made with the best interests of the community and game at heart. Ultimately, we are confident that this will improve the Elite Dangerous experience for all our players.”

So where does that leave the paid 2020 update that the studio teased earlier in 2019? The update the majority of the live team was supposed to be working on? Still on track, as it turns out. “They’re making fantastic progress and on schedule for release by the end of next year,” the devs say. “However, we can only announce the content when it’s at the right stage of development, we estimate this will be ready to talk about at some time in summer 2020, after the Fleet Carriers update.”

Source: Official site. Thanks, Panagiotis and StuartGT!

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Latająca Mysza

I don’t mind. I would prefer to see all those bugs fixed instead of carriers. Frankly – I don’t think carriers are what that game needs at all. What I would like to see the most, is the plot going forward – Thargoids became lazy recently.

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lolzzer

“All those bugs fixed” isn’t going to happen. ED maintenance has only a skeleton crew left on the job and these few months isn’t enough to make a significant dent in the thousands of bugs showing in the bug tracker, left in place by the previous team over five years of bad code development. And anyway Frontier isn’t going to put effort into fixing a bust game that they have explicitly said is end of life the following year.

I don’t believe this delay is for fixing bugs in ED. The more likely reason is the ED team has been shifted over to fixing bugs in Frontier’s zoo game due out next month.

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dreamer

This oft-used excuse by FDev would carry more weight if their previous delays to “[address] existing reported issues” had actually panned out. But they didn’t and I don’t expect this delay will result in a better patch either, because the truth is FDev are lazy and either unable or unwilling to deal with the significant technical debt they’ve been building for years.

We’ve seen it over and over again with this team. They slap on a nearly transparently-thin veneer of new paint with each major update, which has no connection to those which came before it and which simultaneously brings with it a mountain of bugs and technical issues. And then rather than dealing with those bugs and issues, they move on to over-designing the next color of thin paint.

It’s been said before by better members of the community than I, but it bears repeating: FDev are great at world-building, but terrible game designers.

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EmberStar

Did the September patch actually improve the new player experience… like at all? I tried this game, and eventually quit in frustration when it became clear that I’d have to spend a week doing homework on a wiki somewhere to even complete the *tutorial* missions. Because the missions that should teach you how to do basic things like “request permission to land”… seemed to be written with the assumption that you already knew how to do that.

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PhoenixDfire

Of all this things that went wrong with the September update, the new player experience wasn’t one of them. The voice guided tutorial and the safe newbie area are two of the things that people agree they’ve done well. I’d give it a go again with the new tutorial and see what you think.

The rest of the bugs at the moment, just urgh.

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Arnold Hendrick

Although not a player (yet) of E:D, as someone with 30+ years experience in game development, I applaud delaying new features to clean up serious bugs. In my experience, the longer you ignore bugs, the harder it is to find the “root cause” of the problem and fix it. Furthermore, fixing a deeply rooted bug can break things that were unwittingly using buggy behaviors. That causes fixes in one place to break things elsewhere.

In addition to giving players a (play)test server – something I thought was standard practice in MMOs today – I strongly urge developers to always create unit tests, which can be chained together into a complete automated test run as part of the daily build (typically done overnight), so that engineers have a nice list every morning of what new things are broken. Where are the sprint team QA members, who should be demanding daily reports of which unit tests are running, and what they are reporting?

I could go on and on, but my real point is that too many developers cut corners to achieve speed, and end up with an unmanageable, buggy mess.

Therefore, taking a step back to clean up past messes is ALWAYS good in cases like this. Games that work properly are always better than games with lots of new features that don’t work.

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EmberStar

In City of Heroes, not long before the game got shut down the devs were apparently working on trying to clean up some of the spaghetti code. I’m pretty sure I remember a dev post saying they’d found *two* unrelated, and completely game breaking bugs in the Escort missions. And that somehow, both bugs were interacting in some bizarre way to cause Escort missions to apparently function normally.

From what I remember of the post, they said “It was like we built a dam and it immediately blew up. And no one noticed because the rubble fell in a way where it still held water and people could drive on it.” And the obviously drawback is that it would be insanely unstable – anything that messed with the bizarre way the two bugs canceled each other out would have nuked every Escort mission in the game. o.O

masterblaster0
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masterblaster0

If it is worth the wait then I don’t mind them focusing on fixing bugs now. There was a lot of bad feeling about the quality of the last patch so getting things fixed should be the priority.

Do wish they show a bit more of what they are doing in the meantime though.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

I honestly don’t have any hope left for the “big” update. It will either be delayed or broken. Or both. Probably both. Fleet Carriers have been delayed so many times now that I suspect they will be delayed again into the “big” update which as I said will also probably be delayed and broken anyway.

I just…I just want to love Elite again. I really do. But man this last year has been BRUTAL for the game. Sigh.

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Tobasco da Gama

What’s amazing is that the game mechanic overhauls for Exploration and Mining were quite good and generally well-received. All they needed to do was just deliver some kind of actual new content as well, and the community would have been fine. But instead they let the Thargoid storyline fizzle out and then basically dropped it while delaying Fleet Carriers twice.

masterblaster0
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masterblaster0

I just…I just want to love Elite again. I really do. But man this last year has been BRUTAL for the game. Sigh.

Didn’t they allude to this early in the year? Seem to remember them saying small patches focused on new player over larger patches like the previous year. Still kinds of suck though.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

That they did. The problem is that those smaller patches broke the game. The September patch was so bad that it took them most of October to fix. They’ve had to do patches to patch the patches. It’s gotten out of control how broken the patches have become. That’s why they have to delay even more and focus on bug fixes. The game just can’t handle new content in it’s busted state.

So on one hand, it’s good that they recognized that and are going to work to fix that. On the other hand, it’s really bad that they let it go this far. Hope it turns out well though. Like I said, I really want to love Elite again.

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PhoenixDfire

The April update wasn’t too bad but this one was horrendous. Ironically, it was the fact that we earn free ARX for doing certain actions which were causing a lot of the problems. I mean it was a nice intention to reward the players with money to buy cosmetics but when it causes this many bugs you do wonder if it was worth it.

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PhoenixDfire

Oh I hear you about it being brutal. I am still enjoying Elite but they need to do something about those bugs, they really are making it hard to enjoy the game. I’m not to bothered about Fleet Carriers, I’d prefer them to fix it so I can take on Thargoids properly in a wing or actually have a working multi-crew. Heck, if they could fix Powerplay and make CQC more accessible then I’d be happy.

I just hope this bug fixing doesn’t mean that they’ll stop the Interstellar Initiatives. Those are the only things really keeping me in the game at the moment. We’ve lost Galnet articles and community goals so far this year, just hope we don’t loose anymore.

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Tobasco da Gama

This was their excuse for delaying Fleet Carriers the first time, too, and we all saw how that turned out last month.

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Armsman

So…Fleet Carriers are Vaporware and a Scam?… ;)

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PhoenixDfire

Nope,

That’s the ‘Other’ Space Game….

*Runs for Cover!!