Elite Dangerous Odyssey’s launch sees new player number highs, Fleet Carriers forced to park, and hotfix attempts


It’s been a bumpy ride out in the world of Elite: Dangerous. Wednesday’s launch of the Odyssey expansion on PC has seen a wide swath of events for the internet spaceship sandbox ranging from the good to the bad.

On the good news front, the launch of the expansion has seen the game break new peak player count records on Steam, with a new all-time peak of over 27,000 players at the time of this writing (as well as a humblebrag from David Braben). There’s also been a whole lot of pretty screenshots shared by players that have been highlighted by the game’s Twitter account.

As for the bad news, the initial launch saw the servers get absolutely bodied to the point that Frontier Developments elected to temporarily halt Fleet Carrier jumping as a means to mitigate server load, which appears to have mostly worked. For the time being, Fleet Carriers are still being forced to keep their parking brakes on for an indeterminate length of time.

In more recent developments, FDev put out a hotfix yesterday along with a workaround to improve overall performance that involves players removing some files from an install folder and restarting the game. Further issues still persist, like conitinual Orange Sidewinder errors, some reported rollbacks for several commodity costs, and some players still not able to buy suits or weapons despite the hotfix mentioning a fix was included. MMO launches, am I right?


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the launch of the expansion has seen the game break new peak player count records on Steam

Sorry to be the one to tell you Chris, but that measure is people playing the ED launcher, not the ED game. Plus it includes the downloads triggered by the forced update Frontier put on to the every player, even if they didn’t buy Odyssey. It is just a PR trick to let Braben tweet “record player numbers” and get writers like you to repeat it.

Vanquesse V

Nah, the 27k figure is steam alone, 28,923 to be precise. It also does not count people downloading, because that’s not how steam stats work.
There are plenty of legit vectors for attacking this launch, this is not one of them.


It is how Steam stats work on Elite Dangerous. If you start the launcher, your Steam hours clock starts. While the launcher downloads an update, your Steam hours clocks up. Give it a try and see for yourself.

Vanquesse V

sure, but most patches are downloaded through steam itself, including both the expansion and the two hotfixes released so far.


I have an expansion pass from back in 2014. Funny thing is, that expansion pass owners never got an Odyssey license key and I was only able to install the expansion by a workaround. Now Frontier won’t even let me log back in, base game or otherwise because the launcher is looking for an update that doesnt exist. Forum posts about this get deleted by the very ‘competent’ community team.

There is also discussion about false advertisement as some planets look worse than before the update and not in the slightest like the pictures from early dev blogs. Pictures that are still being used to advertise Odyssey.

When I was able to play the ground gameplay was on another plane of suck. Example: I walk around a settlement on foot, completely legal. But while walking I missed a short text message of a guard wanting to scan me. Since I didn’t stop right away I got fined for scan evasion and then the entire settlement turned hostile and just shot me in less than 5 seconds. – Frontier Development gameplay at its finest.


That false advertisement started with the first trailer showing “PRE-ALPHA IN-ENGINE FOOTAGE” which looked great. Then we had Alpha looking a lot worse, then the release looking worse again.

Comparing that first trailer with the released game now, is real eye-opener. The trailer has lush skies, classy animation including gestures, rich planet surface. “IN-ENGINE FOOTAGE” it says … in the latest Unity or Cry Engine on max quality?? It sure can’t be this Frontier in-house engine that’s making the released game look like something from 15 years ago.


So far, it’s been a disasterous launch, hence the negative review hammering it’s been getting on Steam, and people mass flagging it as “Early Access”.

Fun things include;

Graphics rendering that is too dark in space, leading to planetary bodies you can’t even see, but too bright elsewhere leading to blur all over the ground, whited out
planets and character/ship details

Extremely poor performance, mostly in ground zones as FPS has more than halved in some cases.

Terrible net code leading to disconnects, crashes, desync problems; in stations, on the ground, anywhere you might want to play with friends.

Bugs that cause hard crashes if you try and leave the station, or launch a fighter.

NPCs floating in the air, or merged into the scenery.

Shoddy NPC ground AI leaving gameplay basic and poor.

UI changes that actually remove information, or make it harder to access. Gone are percentage values for rank, giving orders to fighters now requires 4 button presses instead of 2, ship outfitting is confusing and contradictory even within it’s own page, UI that isn’t consistent across Elite feet and space…

The aforementioned shutting down of Fleet Carrier movement. But they did at least hot patch the bug that rent back to the original, community outrage causing values of 40m+ per week.

I could go on. The forums and Reddit and Steam are righteously doing their best to draw attention to it all.

The new add on purchases, costumes and gun skins etc purchases work though. Because of course the do. £15 for a set of 3 colour variants, oh yes. They just don’t work correctly in game yet; the space cowboy outfit doesn’t display the hat in game.

Vanquesse V

” and some players still not able to buy suits or weapons despite the hotfix ”
Now it makes way more sense to me how a 7mil pop high tech economy wouldn’t have a single suit or weapon for sale.

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Sean Barfoot

Just wanted to say I’ve followed all your Stick and Rudder columns in the run up to this release Chris, and they’ve been thoroughly enjoyable and very informative about the state of the game right now.

I’ll think I’ll give it a pass for at least a few months and then poke my nose in.

Keep up the great work.