Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

The Type-10 Defender

The Type-10 Defender

What we know so far…

The Type-10 Defender is a Lakon ship and a variant of the Type-9 Heavy transport ship. We’ve seen clips of the ship in Frontier's Beyond teaser video and it has a lot more engine power on display than it’s stable-mate.

Recently a CMDR anonymously posted game-data mined from Elite: Dangerous that reveals yet more details of this as-yet-unreleased ship. The data gives us a wealth of information about the ship and it’s place in the game.

Stuff we didn’t know

The ship designation in the game code is “TYPE-9_MILITARY/FORC_FDEV_V_MAMMOTH”

The internals are as follows: -

  • Class 8 Power plant (Class 6 on the Type 9)
  • Class 7 Thrusters (same as Type 9)
  • Class 7 Frame Shift Drive (Class 6 on Type 9)
  • Class 5 Life Support (same as Type 9)
  • Class 6 Power Distributor (same as Type 9)
  • Class 4 Sensors (same as Type 9)
  • Class 6 Fuel tank (same as Type 9)

UPDATED thanks to Reddit for spotting my error - I had compared to Type-7 (I think) - I plead old age!

The Class 8 power plant puts the T10 right up there with the Cutter, Corvette and Anaconda. The Class 6 power distributor, same as the Type-9, seems a little low, but this ship doesn’t have any Huge hard-points, so maybe a Class 7 wasn’t required - either that or they are trying to limit the ship to kinetic weapons only which draw less power. The Class 7 FSD is a winner for sure, as only the Cutter and Beluga (the two largest ships in the game) have this size of Frame Shift and this vessel is smaller than a Type 9! That means this ship might have a reasonable jump range – especially for a combat class vessel that may have to ship out to Merope.

Nine Hardpoints

4 x Class 3 “Large”
3 x Class 2 “Medium”
2 x Class 1 “Small”

8 Utility slots (twice as many as the Type 9)

That gives this ship a firepower factor of 18 20 (Sum of Class x Qty) which makes it equal to an Imperial Cutter the ship with the most firepower in the game. Interestingly, all the AX weapons released so far are all Class 2, which means the Type-10 is not built as a weapons platform for those AX Multicannons and Missiles released already. Does this mean the ship will be putting Class 2 guns in Class 3 hard-points, or is there a bigger Class of AX weapons to come?

The hard-point names also indicate their position on the ship.

The two small hard-points are located front-left and front-right. Two of the medium hard-points are on the top-left and top-right of the ship. There are two large hard-points top-left and top-right and two large hard-points bottom-left and bottom-right. The final medium hard-point is mid-ship, but it's unclear if it is located top or bottom of the ship.

Layout of optional internals

  1. Class 8
  2. Class 7
  3. Class 6
  4. Class 5
  5. Class 4
  6. Class 4
  7. Class 3
  8. Class 3
  9. Class 2
  10. Military slot
  11. Military slot

This gives us Class 8 shields in battle or 532T of cargo (256 + 128 + 64 + 32 + 16  + 16 + 8 + 8 + 4) which is unchanged from the Type-9 Heavy.

What else?

According to our anonymous source, the ship lists 53 different paintjobs. That's a lot of new looks to try out! Probably not all on sale on day one though.

The Type-10 has a Ship Launched Fighter Bay and crew positions for a pilot, as well as a second and third seat; meaning it's also a multi-crew ship.

Conclusion

This ship will be (as it's name suggests) a Mammoth! With the better thrusters and top-of-the-line FSD drive, it will be more than adequate to handle (although I doubt any will describe it as agile) and will have the jump range needed to get itself to the Thargoid war zones. With Imperial Cutter level firepower and a lower price-point this will be a popular ship. Being somewhere between the Anaconda (146M CR) and the Type 9 (76M CR) in price, I would speculate the cost of the new ship to be a little over 100M CR.
Sadly the Class 6 power distributor is a bit of an Achilles heel; all that Class 8 power and no way to pipe it out! The Class 7 Thrusters mean this ship is going to be a whale to handle. While slightly smaller than the Type-9, it will be heavier with armour, so don't expect to run rings around anyone.
This looks to be a slow-moving multi-cannon gun platform.

Not shooting the breeze

Having been working on Aegis CGs for weeks, I felt like a break. It's all very well humping AEGIS' leg for new toy guns, but there's more to Elite: Dangerous than shooting stuff and I wanted to see some of the new content of 2.4.

Blistering barnacles

First I went seeking one of the recently discovered barnacle forests. The original forest was located on the C2 Moon of the Hyades Sector AQ-Y D81 system, so I prepped my Asp Explorer and set off to see vistas new.

The forest is located in a valley on the moon's surface at LAT 8.89 LONG -153.8 and as you approach all you see is a area filled with a green mist.

I landed at the outer edge of the formation. There is one slightly more prominent barnacle at the centre of the forest and then others arranged in a fractal-like geometric web out from the middle.

I deployed my neon-green SRV and drove into the field. The green mist was less visible at ground level, but the usual whale-song noises we have come to experience at the barnacle sites were also accompanied by something more menacing and quite creepy.

As I moved around the barnacles and scanned structures and scavengers (yes these strange insect-like droids are found here) there were also noises coming from underground. The sounds gave the distinct impression that a LOT more was going on down below out of sight and I was looking at the tip of the iceberg.
Is the forest a bio-organic shipyard? You have to wonder. Either way the noises reminded me of the film "Tremors"; something was definitely moving around underground.

I harvested some materials from shooting a couple of Scavengers and some meta alloy from a few of the "ripe" outer barnacles. Then I packed up my SRV and left the planet. Way too creepy to stay!

Only humans can make a tourist site out of an accident

Next stop on my "tour" was the crashed Thargoid scout ship. I needed LOADS of screen shots to get what I needed for drawing the blueprint, so a visit was a must.

I plotted the route to HIP 17125 and this time took my Anaconda to LAT -65.8 LONG 48.8 on the A 3 A moon. The crash site is visible from quite a long way up in orbital cruise, so it wasn't too hard to find.
I had brought the Anaconda so I could scout ahead with the SLF, so I launched in a F63 Condor to survey the crash site from the air.

Once my Anaconda had caught up, I docked the SLF and landed, then deployed my SRV.

The crash site is basically a giant skid-mark ending in a pile of rocks with a flying saucer sticking out!

There are no scavengers at the site - everything is dead. I looked around and drove some way from the site looking for additional debris or signs of what might have brought the Thargoid ship down, but there is nothing else to see.
You can scan the wreck, but this is a bit of challenge as the SRV will only perform a scan when you are close to the top of the Thargoid and that requires some acrobatics in your SRV to accomplish!

One thing to look at is the top of the ship. I've not shown it here, because [SPOILERS]. Go and see it for yourself.

Space 3303: Moonbase INRA

My next stop was the most recently discovered 8th INRA (Intergalactic Navy Research Arm) base. Being military (and possibly a Thargoid target) I took my Corvette this time.

I landed at the base accompanied by Sir Clip in his Asp. The base is abandoned. A haunted house in space.

The two silos that once contained the Navy's bio-weapon that defeated the Thargoids (or so we thought) stand like dark monuments.



The base itself though, is not entirely dead. There are four data-points around the base, which when scanned, reveal audio logs which tell of the fate of those who manned the station. The only shame is that these logs are not dated, so we don't have any context of when these events occurred.

As I flew away from the site I couldn't help, but wonder why there were not signs of what took place. No wreckage human or Thargoid is there and nor are there any signs of weapons installations. The whole experience raised more questions than it answered.

What this visit has done is make me want to visit the other seven bases and try to put more of the picture together. Rumour has it that there are twelve bases in all, so we have yet to find the other four.

 

Vehicle icons

After publishing vectors of the ships and vehicles from Elite: Dangerous that I had compiled while drawing my ship blueprints over the last year or so, I had a lot of interest from other members of the community who wanted to use them in their own projects.

As long as my blog gets a mention (somewhere) and nobody tries to take credit for the work I've done, I'm very happy for anyone to do this and actively encourage such creativity. 

With this in mind, a CMDR had emailed me asking for vectors - this time of the isometric projections which were not included in the vectors I published previously. So, to address this I've created 256px x 256px icons for every vehicle in the game in PNG and SVG (vecor) formats. These are available to download in a single ZIP file here.

ed-vehicle-icons-png.zip (1.28 mb)

ed-vehicle-icons-svg.zip (5.74 mb)

And they look like this..

Adder Anaconda Asp Explorer Asp Scout

Beluga Liner Cobra Mk.3 Cobra Mk.4 Diamondback Explorer

Diamondback Scout Dolphin Eagle F63 Condor

Federal Assault Ship Federal capital ship Farragut class battlecruiser Federal Corvette Federal Dropship

Federal Gunship Fer De Lance GU97 Imperial Fighter Hauler

Imperial capital ship Majestic class interdictor Imperial Clipper Imperial Courier Imperial Cutter

Imperial Eagle Keelback Orca Python

Scarab SRV Sidewinder Coriolis Station Taipan Independant Fighter

Thargoid Interceptor Thargoid Scout Thargoid Sensor Type-6 Transporter

Type-7 Transporter Type-9 Heavy Viper Mk.3 Viper Mk.4

Vulture

Thargoid Schematics

I have updated the set of Thargoid data obtained (can't say how) from the Federal Navy.

Thargoid Sensor

Previously the Unknown Artefact.

Thargoid Scout

The scout ship seen only at a crash site so far.

Thargoid Interceptor

The Cyclops variant Thargoid ship.

Comparative scale

To see the Thargoid vessels compared with the human vessels. (4K+ image)

Ships Skins and Thargoids

Ship skins

At the Frontier Expo on Saturday October 8th I got to chat with Sandro Sammarco, Frontier's Lead Designer, about paint jobs.

Following my article last week, the FD Power Survey, I thought I would go to the source and ask Frontier how they decide which ships get paint jobs and ship kits, and what - if any - criteria was used to make this decision.

Sandro is a very approachable person and offered to talk to me any time I wanted during the Expo. So, between presentations I put on my "Journalist" hat (or Elite: Dangerous cap at least) and asked the question.

"How do you decide which ships get paints in the store?"

Sandro-
The paint jobs, ship kits and other DLC are all managed by the marketing department. The development team are not directly involved in the selection process.

"From the numbers I've gathered from Inara, the most popular ships are the Asp Explorer and Anaconda, but the store mostly has Viper and Cobra paints; do marketing not look at ownership stats?"

Sandro-
Marketing choose what skins they want to sell based on their own research of player purchases, but they do approach the developers for numbers of ships owned.

So that answered my question.

Sandro had a bit of chat with me; he's a very amiable and we spoke about ship roles and where different ships fit in, with the popularity of the Anaconda.

Sandro-
The Anaconda is a bit of an overpowered ship, but we can't change it now, as it is very popular. Players wouldn't like us changing their favourite ship.

Our conversation tool place before the presentation, so he couldn't say anything without spoilers, but he did say there were ships coming to the game that would make some exciting changes.
Looking at the Krait, Type-10 and Chieftain, I can see what he means, as these are the first wave of a number of ships to come in 2.4 and Beyond.

Thargoids

On an unrelated topic, I drew a new blueprint on Friday of a Thargoid Interceptor; leaked from an undisclosed source in the Federation here is the Cyclops!

 

 

Frontier Expo - Elite 2.4 And Beyond

On Saturday the first Frontier Expo took place. It was held at “Here East” in the Olympic Park in north London near to Stratford. The expo showcased Frontier’s past games, many of which I personally was unaware of, and featured heavily the existing games of Planet Coaster and Elite: Dangerous, as well as promoting Frontier’s new IP which is the Jurassic Park Evolution game, scheduled for release next summer; probably to coincide with the release of the next feature film.

 

 

When I arrived at the venue there was a queue outside arranged around the large Cobra scale model we’ve see before at the launch party. There was also a Jurassic Park explorer on display and the Chief Beef character from Planet Coaster was “working the crowd”.

Once inside after a security check, we took a lift upstairs and were greeted with a “goody bag”. The more expensive Founders tickets got a bright orange gloss-card bag, while the rest of us got fabric bags (I think the Founders dibbed out there). The bag I received contained a cool galaxy map mouse-mat, a Planet Coaster water bottle, digital game codes for Planet Coaster and Elite: Dangerous DLC, a T-shirt, some artwork postcards for both games and a really amazing large card print of a scene from Jurassic Park Evolution.

The Expo was held in two halls, with a third side hall devoted to 3rd parties and refreshments. These included Lave Radio, Hutton Orbital Radio, the Special Effects charity and Spidermind Games. There were also a number of well know Streamers in the streaming room and I think I might have spotted a few Hutton Truckers.

The main hall and secondary hall both hosted presentations throughout the day, I will included URLs to these streams as soon as they are available, so you can watch them – take the time, as they are all very interesting. Also in the main hall there was a diorama of dinosaurs as a backdrop to Jurassic Park Evolution trailer running and the two Frontier exhibition stands - one with the console version of Elite on it and the other with the PC version of Elite.

There was a section of PCs all devoted to playing Planet Coaster and attendees could all sit down at these workstations and play the game. There unfortunately wasn't a playable copy of Jurassic Park Evolution at the expo... early days!

While the events of the day were interesting and it was certainly great to catch up with those commanders who I haven’t seen, some since the premier event in 2014 and others who I have never met before, like the contingent of French and German commanders who helped with the translation of my blueprints (great to see you guys!). The Elite community is a fantastic bunch of people and I could probably fill my blog with a long shout-out to all the people that I met there just on Saturday.

The Juicy Bit

Thing that most people will be interested in was the talk given at 5pm when Frontier announced what they will be doing for the coming year for Planet Coaster, the launch of Jurassic Park Evolution and the big “and finally” which was what’s next Elite: Dangerous, which they have subtitled “2.4 And Beyond”!

What was made very clear, was that the coming year’s releases will be free to anyone that has already bought Horizons, so that means the coming years-worth of DLC is basically inclusive!
Starting with a teaser video, which included the Thargoid scan making a green laser sweep over the audience (very cool Frontier), the presentation got off to a great start.

The first feature announced for Elite was wing missions, which is something that the community, my own gaming group of Dead Men Walking included, really wanted to have so that our group complete missions together.

Frontier also stated that better trade data would be available in game.
They announced that one of the changes they are making to the gaming engine was improved planetary tech, which in simple terms means more variety on planet surfaces, with better textures and better landscapes. A greater variety were demonstrated by showing some slides of different types of planet which looked very impressive in the flesh.

Then they teased some new weapons. No details were given, so feel free to speculate!



Frontier announced new narratives for the game meaning new story lines to take players in different directions; They also plan to continue the Guardians storyline and the new narratives to come will have a lot of crossover with this and the ongoing Thargoid narrative.
A behind the scenes video (which I haven’t yet seen published online) gave us a peek at the Frontier offices and the design of new ships and weapons that will be coming to the game, all of which looked very interesting.
Frontier then stated that the game will be receiving “a lot of new ships”, some of which they showed us -  some of which we caught a glance of (in the previously mentioned video) all of which were completely new ships. See left-hand screen below; what ship is THAT? (Krait on right).


Now my prediction that the Type-10 Defender would be a variant of the Type-9 proved to be correct. Shown in the teaser video from several different angles, you could see that the Type-10 is a militarised Type-9, which clearly has a lot more engine power!

Credit to @EliteCast for the excellent Type-10/Type 9 comparative screenshot.

They’ve also narrowed the hull with flight-deployed winglets. The vessel shown appeared to have a ship kit fitted (spoilers!!!).


The first of the two new ships that were shown to us was the “Chieftain”, which is a Lakon Spaceways designed ship produced for the Alliance, which makes it the first alliance vessel in the game, which has a passing resemblance to the Pelican dropship from HALO. We were shown a 3D rotating textured model of the ship as it will appear in game, and while there’s been some speculation as to the size of the vessel, we were given no statistics of either vessel, so it will be quite difficult know for certain this size of these ships (other than the Type 10).


 

The second ship shown was in its early design stages and they only had an untextured model to display, however the ship will be very popular with fans of the 1984 Elite, as it is a legendary fighter from the original game the “Krait”.

Speculation Alert!

The Krait

Using captures from the videos, I have been able to speculate the approximate size class of the two new ships. Please bear in mind this is not much more than an educated guess, so don't go buying curtains based on my measurements, okay?

The sneek peek video shows a Cobra next to the Krait, so scaling the image after a bit of perspective correction, the Krait would be 42m x 51m (height unknown) making it similar in size to an Asp Scout.

One thing very noticeable on the animated render, is that the Krait has two crew positions either side of the main cockpit and clearly shows a fighter bay behind the cargo hatch, making it both an SLF capable ship and a multi-crew ship!


UPDATE: Using perspective editing I took some (rough) measurements from the video render to compare with the earlier top-down screen grab and found the Krait *might* be larger and squarer than I first estimated. Based on a 18m launch bay and 5m cargo hatch, the ship is 62m long and 62m wide.

That would make the Krait between the Asp Explorer and Fer De Lance in size, so the cost could be anywhere between 6-50M CR! We won't know, until we have more about the ships core internals. One thing from the render is the clearly visible Class 3 hardpoints on the front underside. However, there are no other visible hard-points top or bottom, so would this make the Krait a Vulture XL? The lack of weaponry would have to be balanced with something (more than a fighter bay) so is the Krait super-fast and agile? We'll find out. 

The Chieftain

The Chieftain is a Lakon ship, which kindly have the same cockpit configuration, so based on that, the ship is quite a big one!

Comparing with a Type-9, you can see that while a little narrower, the Chieftain is a good 10m longer. That makes this ship in the same size class as an Anaconda.

After getting hold of some better quality bitmaps, I redid this based on the size of the cargo hatch (which is universal) and the ships comes out much smaller, a little larger than a Federal Gunship. But it does appear to have six Class 2 hard-points and two Class 3 hard-points.

Based on my revised size estimates and what can be deduced from the pictures shown, we have two medium sized combat vessels. One aparently armed to the teeth, but with no fighter bay and the other with minor armaments and a fighter bay and some possible X factor we don't know about yet.

Frontier announced that they would be bringing GalNet Audio to the game. This means no more text-walls for galactic news. Instead each article can be played as an audio track, from the looks of it while flying the ship (i.e. out of menu).

Another big game changing and exciting announcement made was that of Squadrons. Squadrons will be in-game player groups with in-game membership, and admin tools. The squadrons will be able to purchase in game Capital ships for their group, designated as a “Carriers” which will be exclusive to the members of the squadron. I would imagine (purely speculating) these would be a specific class of megaship with large, small and medium landing pads on board. Either way this is something that gaming groups (my own included) have been crying out for.


As promised 2.4 is going to see some major revamps to existing game mechanics and core gameplay one of those being a revamp of mining, offering new mining tools for both extraction and detection of minerals and metals and the ability to carry out operations like asteroid blasting and deep mining.
Frontier showed us a concept art (which I think I’ve seen before) of a snowy planet surface, they have said is that they are working on a new lighting model and new planet surface types with localised ambient effects, like fog. The concept art was set as a target for the developers to match for the in-game graphics.

Exploration is going to be getting a major revision, with more tools for exploration - many new items are out in deep space, outside the bubble, that have yet to be discovered and Frontier are also adding a Codex for explorers to log their discoveries. Frontier described the exploration changes as having “new anomalies and content to discover out in the black”.

Lastly part of the 2.4 teaser video showed off a new class of Thargoid ship – the red Thargoid!



I’ve not covered any of the Planet Coaster or Jurassic Park Evolution as these are not Elite-related, but both presentations were amazing and while I already own Planet Coaster, Jurassic Park Evolution is now on my “Must have” list.

 

 

FD Power Survey

Last May I published an article on what ships players owned. I got my data from the Inara website because while it couldn’t cover everyone, it has large enough numbers to be representative.

Last year the most popular ship in terms of ownership numbers and as a first-choice primary vessel was the Asp Explorer.

Have the 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 updates and the addition of two new passenger vessels changed that?

Short answer is “yes”. The Asp Explorer while still the most popular ship to own, has fallen 0.66% from 12.92% to 12.26% and has been supplanted as the most popular primary vessel by the Anaconda. This would appear to show that the player-base has become more affluent over the last year and a half.

Here is the division of ship ownership as 2.4 has launched.

The least popular ship last year was the Orca, but following the addition of passenger missions in the game, that has changed. Now the least popular ship is the Asp Scout, meaning Asps occupy top and bottom place! The Orca is now more popular than the Asp Scout, Federal Dropship and Federal Gunship. The most popular passenger vessel is the recently added Dolphin. This would appear to show most players are only putting a toe in the passenger mission waters.

Clearly the addition of content has shifted the dynamic.

Thargoids might shift them again. With the requirement for four Class 2 hard-points for AX Missiles and space required for “standard” weaponry as well, will the changes brought by 2.4 cause a resurgence in the popularity of the Federal Dropship? We shall see. Let’s face it, nobody is going to make war on the Thargoids in a Beluga Liner!

Top of the Pops

Well, ship-pickers, who are the winners and losers in our chart? Where have the biggest gains and losses been seen?

The top 5 winners are the Anaconda, who has jumped a whopping 2.21%. The Dolphin which has gone from nowhere to 1.29%, making it more popular than the Type-9 was last year. The Imperial Cutter has gone up 1.11% to 3.10% showing the player-base are getting rank as well as credits in game. Then the Beluga line takes the number four spot from nowhere with 1.08% and finally at number five, the Federal Corvette with 3.10% rising 0.80% from last year.

Last year the most popular ships were the Sidewinder, Anaconda, Python and Cobra Mk 3 – all multi-role – with the two exceptions of the Vulture (a pure combat vessel) and the Asp Explorer which is primarily an explorer.

This year we’re seeing that the Fer-de-Lance has crept up to push the Sidewinder out of that group, indicating that the player-base is not only wealthier, but more inclined toward combat.

Who are the biggest losers?

The poor Vulture, despite hanging on in the top five most popular ships, lost the most players with a 2.12% loss. Have players moved to the FDL to avoid the Vulture’s weak cockpit? Or did they just get rich enough to buy the combat ship they wanted all along?

At number two on the “loser list” is the Cobra Mk III! Yep, the iconic ship is falling out of fashion. It lost 1.75% of the player-base in the last 18 months.

The third ship we’re learning not to love is the Imperial Clipper, with ownership falling by 1.24%. That means more people have ditched their Clippers than the total number of players who own Keelbacks!

Our fourth biggest looser is the Federal Assault Ship. This craft has lost 1.20% of the player-base. Why? This ship was popular as a combat vessel with PvP and PvE alike, but it looks like those players are moving on to vessels new.

The fifth biggest loser was the Diamondback Scout dropping 0.84% from 2.32% to only 1.48%. Why? As a small combat ship, it just doesn’t seem to compete with the cheaper Cobra and Vipers.

Some worthy changes to note. The Orca, Keelback and Gunship have all doubled in popularity. The Keelback has clearly benefitted from being the smallest vessel to have Ship Launched Fighters. The Orca has seen a surge due to passenger missions. Why has the Gunship gained? I can only speculate that it’s combat role is raising its profile.

Have ship paint jobs kept up with what's popular in-game? Last year there was a disconnect between what was owned and what paints you could buy in the store.

The short answer here is "no". There are disproportionate amounts of paints available for the Eagle and Viper, while the popular Asp Explorer has far fewer paints, especially considering it's the number one ship in the game for the last two years! Now, as I said at the start, Inara numbers are only representative of a selected portion of the player base - all be it as big portion. Does Frontier check their own numbers before prioritising paints for one ship over another? I'd hope so, but the current numbers don't seem to bear that out.

Better luck next year!

Shhh! I’m Huntin’ Thargoids

Following the addition of the “Experimental” weapons to the game yesterday on completion of the Aegis Community Goal, I decided to swing down to Merope and find myself some Thargoids.

On the way out, I purchased a shiny new Research Limpet Controller at Jameson Memorial in Shinrarta Dezrha and set off down to Merope.

OTHER PLACES YOU CAN GET RESEARCH LIMPET CONTROLLERS
Brestla, i Sola Prospect
LHS 3980, Schlegel Keep (15% discount)
Howard, Messerschmid Bastion

You can obtain Xeno Scanner and AX Missile launchers from any planetary station with outfitting in a High Tech or Refinery system.

After docking at the Planet Base, Alcazar's Hope I switched from my exploration Anaconda into my far speedier Imperial Courier and (using storage) switched the limpet controller to the smaller ship. Then I went a huntin’!

The nearby system of HIP 19072 was full of “non human signal source” points, so I dropped into one and found a couple of wrecked Imperial Cutters, the wreckage still burning, surrounded by a green fog. But no Thargoid ship.

I returned to super-cruise and continued my Thargoid hunt. At the next Non-Human Signal Source, I dropped out to find this one occupied. I got close enough to scan him and he scanned me. Lots of whale song and rumbling, but still in the green.

Then the Thargoid ship proceeded to ignored me and continued to scan the wrecks floating around us.

Feeling emboldened, I proceeded to scan the Thargoid with my Xeno Scanner - this took about the same time as a Kill Warrant scanner does. The petal ship began to pulse and chatter and the lights on the ship turned red.
A swarm of small missile-like ships circled the perimeter of the vessel, then dived at me, causing hull damage and reducing my shields. It turns out the flight suit doesn't help with the fear-response!

I tried to flee, but there were two problems. The first was the Thargoid vessel cruised at over 300m/s and my ship was badly damaged already, so I didn’t have best speed. Cruise wasn't fast enough to outrun it and boost was offline due to module damage.
The second issue was that the Thargoid ship has a mass-lock of 30 (at 27 the Imperial Cutter has the largest mass lock of any human ship) so nobody can jump away from a Thargoid!

The end result was predictable. Shields went down like a tissue curtain and the Thargons pounded my hull to zero in waves.

Not disheartened, although about 300,000CR worse off, I went into station outfitting and equipped my Courier with Module and Hull reinforcement and tried again.

I didn’t attempt to scan the next vessel I encountered, instead I just shot a Research Limpet from 2km away.

At first the Thargoid seemed unconcerned, but when the limpet began “extracting” a sample, the vessel turned red and steamed straight at me. It is worth noting that once attached, the limpet takes several minutes to “sample” the target and you cannot go more than 4km away from the limpet (and by extension the angry Thargoid), or the limpet will self-destruct. The extraction progress is shown on your HUD in a similar fashion to the FSD cool-down.

This lead to a cat and mouse situation, where I was flying at maximum speed avoiding energy blasts from the petal ship, all the while chased in circles by an angry swarm of Thargons. Too far and the limpet is gone, too near and the Thargoid inflicts devastating damage to your ship. Eventually, the toll was too great.

Driven away, with only three percent hull, my limpet went boom and I took the “Brave Sir Robin” option of running away.

At this point I decided the Thargoids had been getting it way too easy. Now it was my turn to bring the pain! Now I would chase them away!

Back to Alcazar's Hope for repairs and swapping the Limpet Controller for three Class 2 AX Missile turrets. This put my ship at the limit of its power plant but hey, you can’t have enough guns, right?

Back out into the black and found my next encounter.

I got close enough and scanned the Thargoid with Xeno Scanner, this revealed (on the subsystems panel) that the ship had four “hearts”. To disable the Thargoid, you need to destroy these.

You'll see (above) each Thargoid has a designation logo. These seem to have a number of variants. If you see one of these not shown below, could you take a screenshot and post it on Twitter to me (@ACHunt)? Thanks.

But, the scan itself triggers a hostile response from the Thargoid, like saying “Combat log” to a griefer, they are easily triggered! Going all gung-ho, I opened up with all three missile racks at once! Take that Thargoid scum!

At this point I realised that the vulnerable “hearts” of the vessel were at the back of the ship and the Thargoid, no matter how fast I moved, remained facing me. They make an Eagle look less agile than a Type-9!

This meant all my missiles exploded harmlessly on the front of the vessel. It was like throwing snowballs at an angry bear. There are no screenshots of this part of the encounter as I was too busy dying.

After my second rebuy screen of the evening, I decided to call it quits and come back another day with reinforcements.

The Thargoids Return on September 26

Last night Frontier had a live stream hosted by Edward Lewis and alongside him was lead designer, Sandro Samarco, to herald the release of Elite: Dangerous 2.4 on all platforms on 26th September.

They showed off a CGI trailer for 2.4; which sadly did not consist of any in-game footage. As in the past with these trailers, it was very dramatic, but had little real connection to the actual game of Elite: Dangerous.

Ed talked about Thargoid lore in the game (a short recap anyway) and Sandro answered some questions about game content. If you were not one of the 3,500 (ish) people watching the stream, here is the highlight reel of what you missed.

Law and Order

The Pilot’s Federation bounty on players who kill other players is a first-step. This will be refined and the Karma system fleshed out in 2.4. The system may also be expanded to NPC kills. Nothing is ruled out at this point.

Pilot’s Federation Bounty – When a player commits the crime of murder (PvP only), they receive an additional Pilot's Federation Bounty. This bounty is valid in every jurisdiction except anarchy systems.

A ship rebuy Penalty now applies when a player commits the crime of murder (PvP only), an additional cost is added if they swap to a less expensive ship before paying legal costs during the rebuy process.

New Ship

Sandro stated the Type-10 Defender (clearly a Lakon craft) is not the Panther LX. It’s a new ship. He didn’t answer any other questions about the Type-10. Is it a new ship or variant (combat Type-9)? We’ll find out I guess.

Above is a concept art of what was going to be the DiamondBack. Maybe as with the Imperial Ships, they'll adapt one ship concept to use for another. My thinking is that they've taken a basic type-9 heavy and made a combat variant, in the same way they did with the Type-6 Transport -> Keelback. The resulting ship would be a slow moving but very dangerous gun platform. This though, is pure speculation.

New Content & Features 2.4

Holo-Me now has multiple Save Slots for different Commander appearances, as well as new hairstyles and added slots for Eyewear and Outfits.

Synthesis can now create heat sinks, chaff, limpets and top up life support, however heat sinks require manufactured materials so you won't have an infinite supply outside the bubble.

Additional planetary bases have been added to the Colonia region for migration winners

New Content & Features 1.9

The Inbox has had a revamp with various quality of life improvements and a new look.
We get chained missions; missions that can be in several parts.
Hull/Canopy Repair Limpet controllers are now available which will enable you to repair your own and other CMDRs ships out in space.
Station outfitting now displays all options available for cosmetic items. You can preview paint jobs and other game extras with the Buy Now link enabled.
Your stored ships can now be sold from the rebuy screen to cover the rebuy if you are cash-poor when your ship was destroyed.
Exploration and the galaxy map have the following improvements:-

  • The maximum route plotting range has been extended from 1,000Ly to 20,000Ly.
  • Route plotting is much faster.
  • In route plotting there is now an option to make use of neutron star boost when plotting routes.
  • An icon is now displayed on your plotted route to show the last scoopable star before your ship will run out of fuel.

The stations now have a search and rescue contact for the new search and rescue missions. This option also allows you to hand in recovered escape pods (legally). In addition new and improved salvage scenarios have been added to support search and rescue game play.

Anti-Thargoid weapons

Confirming what was first show in concept art at this year’s LaveCon event back in June, we will be getting a new type of missile launcher which is specifically designed to combat Thargoid technology. Shown in Medium and Large hard-points, it will be the first missile launcher in Class 3 - The question is, can you use those missiles on anyone (not just Thargoids) and are they dumbfire or guided?

We will also get a new countermeasure to protect our ships from Thargoid EMP weapons. This was shown as "being deployed". Since all Utility Slot items are "always on", I'm not sure how you would activate this in game if it wasn't always on.

These were all shown off with a CGI video trailer for 2.4 titled “Commander Chronicles: Retaliation”, which demonstrated the importance of ZombieLand Rule #2 – “The Double Tap”. Don’t be stingy with those Thargoid-killer missiles or the target will regenerate fast and will kill you with extreme prejudice using their own nasty looking warheads.

Because if you don’t, you’ll be making “Dale Face” all the way to the rebuy screen...

 Interestingly, the video showed the Target Lock on the Thargoid ship showed the ship as "Thargoid Interceptor - Cyclops Variant".

If I ruled the (Elite) Galaxy

How I’d change Elite Dangerous

This article is not about new stuff; I’m not calling for atmospheric landing or EVA from ships. Nor is it a demand to Frontier to do things differently. It is just an opinion piece on how I would alter the current features of the game for “season 3” to make them more accessible if these decisions were mine to make.

Close Quarters Combat Arena

CQC was the arena-based PvP vehicle for the game, launched alongside the XBOX release of ED. It has, I think it is fair to say, flopped totally. Nobody plays CQC. It’s very hard to find a game.

How would I change it?

I would move the CQC system into the main game. Arenas would be large stations located in systems around the galaxy. You would fly your main ship to their location and dock to play. Human players would join the arena they dock at in their instance.

There would be AI opponents (bots) that would be hot-swapped with human players as they join and leave. This would then offer CQC in solo and all other modes of play, making it feel part of the game, rather than a bolt-on. By using the existing instancing, the matchmaking would no longer been needed.

Arenas would offer cash rewards and these would vary, depending on system state and faction. For example, a system in boom might hold a “championship” with larger rewards.

Players could also opt to watch competitions from an “observation room” in the arena station. Initially this would be a variation of the ship cockpit with player-controller view screens and a window onto the arena play area – basically overview + one or more controlled cameras.

CQC rank would be removed and instead players would be rated on a dynamic league table. Players would be invited to systems to play, based on their current rank.

Engineering materials

Currently (and I know this from bitter experience) finding materials and data for engineers can be a mind-numbing trudge through endless USS points looking for a single material or data item, waiting for the great god of random numbers to grant you those three cherries in a line. I hate random number generators.

Without excellent tools like EDEngineer, Inara and Eddb I’d have given up all together!

How would I change it?

Commanders would be able to pin multiple engineer blueprints for a “shopping list”. This would highlight the data and materials you have in your inventory as “required” or “not required”, so you can discard unnecessary cargo.

Your shopping list would then become a trigger for the game. Now, at the next USS or Nav Beacon or Station, you might be approached by an AI who would offer a mission with an item on your shopping list as a reward or as the mission itself.

“Go to system X and return with Y and I will give you data A”

“There’s a trader outside station X in system Y that will exchange data/material A for commodity B”

By doing this, the materials and data are then made part of the existing mission system and you would feel like you are playing the game, rather than wandering aimlessly waiting for a random timer to complete. Also, station missions would offer cash or the choice of a pinned material for reward.

Surface prospecting suffers from randomness the same way, even when you know there is 75% chance of arsenic on the surface, you can be driving in circles shooting rocks for hours and find none. It’s not fun.

Instead ships would have an “advanced surface scanner” and you would fly around in orbital cruise to map near-surface locations of elements; iron ore, sulphur deposits. Only impact craters would be a pick-n-mix like the current state of affairs. With the surfaced mapped, you would set surface waypoints and take the mining SRV to drill for the required elements or materials. The map would only be held while in orbit. After that, you’d rely on the waypoints you added entirely.

This leads into exploration.

Exploration

Currently there are three system scanners (useless, next to useless and infinite honk). And a detailed surface scanner that can see the far side of planet, when your SRV can’t manage more than a burst of static for radar, not consistent or helpful.

How would I change it?

The basic and intermediate system scanners would detect planets and moons in their range and all stars in the system, but would also display “estimated” orbit lines for objects not in range, but detected through gravitational lensing and radial velocity. Explorers would have to search the orbits for the planetary bodies causing the effect.

Planet scanning would be carried out by orbiting the planet - three types of surface scanner (basic, intermediate and advanced) – these would set the width of area scanned and you would need to scan the whole planet. The GUI would show a 3D graphic of the planet as you scan. This scan would detect the presence of elements.

Detailed surface scans would be carried out using the same scanners in orbital cruise. These scans would detect the location of material deposits on the surface. It would also spot extra-terrestrial objects on the surface.

System bookmarks in the galaxy map would have groups (folders) and surface way points could be bookmarked and used for a heading in SRV and ship Heads Up Display.

The Scarab SRV is fine for pew-pew, but we need purpose-built SRV types for exploration and mining.

The mining SRV “Cicada” (a beetle that digs) would be the mining SRV for extracting minerals, liquids and gases from the ground in areas discovered using surface scanning. This would follow the same method as space mining. Refinery and cargo, but the Cicada would be larger than the Scarab and require cargo transferred to the ship before it could fold for transport. I can also deploy ground-mining limpets (already seen in game) which can be harvested later.



The survey SRV “Coleoptera” scans the surface in a large radius for mineral deposits. This could be used instead of the surface scanner in orbital cruise. Because it is used on the surface, it can detect gas, water and oil deposits under the surface as well.

Explorers would find a planetary body, survey the surface from orbit, provide a detailed survey from low orbit (orbital cruise) and geological surveys from SRV. All saleable information, scaling in value.

The same information then could be bought in Universal Cartographic by miners, so they can get straight to the drilling. The game should treat the data as a commodity. i.e. if nobody has surveyed Moon 3C then the data won’t be available. First survey gets biggest pay out. Repeat surveys get general fee.

Crime and punishment

2.4 is seeking to improve the current lawless nature of the open game. It’s currently a case of “play in private/solo or accept you will be griefed”. Not ideal. Great news for the tiny minority, but bad news for the majority of players and the game itself. After all, how many griefed players, especially new players, never come back to the game? Only takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole barrel.

How would I change it?

In the original Elite, if you murdered someone, the police were on you like flies on dung, so being wanted meant retreating to an anarchy system, or get killed in short order.

I see no reason not to go back to that. Trade should pay more in lawless systems, so players have an incentive to go there. Risk plus reward.

“Report crimes” would be a setting made on the options menu which cannot be altered during play. So no changing your mind about a PvP fight when you start losing and getting the cops to fight for you.

In secured systems, if a commander attacks another (CMDR with report crimes on) or an AI and they are not wanted/in a powerplay faction/in a combat zone (i.e. no in-game reason for an attack), then a police response should be immediate.

What’s more if you are wanted, the police would interdict you in the same way that the powerplay AIs already do when you join a PP faction.

The police response would be proportional to your bounty and ship size, so if you accidentally shot a ship in a Nav beacon and you are in a Sidewinder, then an Eagle or Viper would chase you after a minute or two.
If you have been murdering other ships and you are in a Fer-De-Lance or Corvette, then the police response would be much faster and the ships chasing you would be Anaconda and Vulture wings, dispatched within a minute or less of you leaving super cruise.

Basically, you’d be looking at an escalating response to wanted status, as you commit more crimes. First system wide, then faction wide.

The only way to not be constantly harassed is to pay your bounty or leave for a lawless system.

The only way to kill ships and not get dead yourself at the hands of the feds, is if they are PvP willing with Report Crimes off (which would show on your scanner) or if they are in an Anarchy system.

With the balance redressed, Open would have a lot more players. Players should be choosing which systems to avoid, not which play mode.

I would also add a fine for “ungraceful exit” of the game during combat (terminating Elite.EXE or ALT-F4) – so called “combat logging”. The fine would last seven days before you could pay it off. A second offense extends the period to two weeks. A third will carry a wanted bounty for a month “FOR ILLEGAL USE OF TELEPORTATION TECHNOLOGY”. If your PC crashes or your network fails, you will have to avoid all combat in the game until your fine clears, or face the same consequences as if you committed murder.

Piracy tools

Currently to be Robin Hood (or robin’ anyone) you need an interdictor, a manifest scanner and a hatch breaker controller.

What we don’t have is any tools to disable a ship without destroying it.

How would I change it?

I posted about piracy before, as I think (far more than CQC) it should be a recognised career with a rank.

The key element is, while victims are threatened with destruction, a good pirate would rarely have to follow through on the threat. A successful pirate gets their booty without killing the traders.

Currently that is very hard to do, as nearly every weapon available will destroy a ship long before any module is disabled, so any attempt to knock out the targets FSD will likely kill them instead.

What is needed is a “FSD hack” utility module that can be used to “reboot” an FSD on a target ship once their shields are down.

Yes, these could be abused by griefers, but the revised karma system would make their life impossible after a handful of murders by using these, just as any other weapons.

Interplanetary Bounty Hunting

Currently you get bounty missions, assassination missions and can trawl Navigation Beacons and Resource Sites for NPCs to kill for cash.

But there is no mechanism for hunting criminals directly.

How would I change it?

Players and NPCs in the “most wanted” list in any system would be traceable. You would have to sign on at the station they’re wanted by to hunt them (through the mission board). You would then get updates on your transaction panel every time they are scanned by feds in space or super cruise in any system, or dock at any station. For human players, this would cover all game modes and state which mode they were playing in on the updates.

“CMDR Harry Potter just docked at Guest City in Zeta Trianguli Australis OPEN”

“Mrs Trellis of North Wales was spotted near the Nav Beacon in Eravate”

Private Groups

Currently private groups are a nightmare to administer (just ask the guys at MobiusPvE) and the GUI isn’t very helpful when you want to know which one friends are in. And if you want to name an Elite Private Group you have to buy an extra copy of the game, just to create the group name you want.

How would I change it?

The group member list needs a filter. Really. How hard can a text filter be to implement?

The GUI should display the name of the Private Group your friends are playing in, so the friends list says "Private Group (Dead Men Walking)".

Private groups need the ability to nominate more than one admin and name the group. So player Jameson can create a private group and while they remain the owner of the account, other nominated CMDRs can administer the group. The group should also be re-nameable. So it can be "Jameson's Eagles" instead of "Jameson".

Admins of the private group should be able to send group messages (like server messages appear currently).

Ship Transfer

Moving ships between stations was a feature that was offered as a choice between instant or delayed transfer and the community voted for delayed transfer "for thar immershun".
But it costs a fortune to move ships and takes an age. For example a move between two systems 41Ly apart that takes (at most) two jumps and pad to pad takes a CMDR 8 minutes, will take 24minutes for ship transfer and cost 500,000CR for my Anaconda (which makes that in a single jump). It's slow AND expensive. Disproportionately so.

How would I change it?

The ship transfer menu should offer TWO options. Delayed ship transfer which will put your ship on a transport that calls on the hour every hour, or 3D printed ship transfer which is instant. The instant transfer should cost the same as the current process, while the delayed transfer should be a low fee based on pad size (small = 1,000CR, medium = 5,000CR, large = 100,000CR).
The instant transfer will take a minute while your ship is printed. The delayed transfer would be view-able in game.

When the feature was first confirmed, I suggested that a mega-ship would hyper-space in (like capital ships do) at regular intervals outside major stations and your ships would be transported from there into the station, so you would call (or send) a ship, and on the hour, a mega-ship would take/deliver your ship. You'd see the mega-ship jump in. You'd see it unload and you'd be notified your ship had arrived.

There's nothing about either option that does anything the game does not already do. It does more for "mah immurshun" on both counts than the current method.

Opening another possible avenue here, if the mega-supply-ship had tugs with cargo as well and dropped in outside the 10km zone to unload, there would be the option to add cargo piracy and ship theft to the piracy career path.