Well that went quick. This time last year I was driving up the motorway to RAF Duxford with my youngest son to attend the Elite Dangerous launch event. A year a lot has changed, not counting protest goats and bobbleheads.
In January we had the 1.1 update which added some of the elements missing from the launched game (like decals) along with additions to GalNet and the new feature of Community Goals. We also saw the introduction of the sexy Imperial Clipper and the not-so-sexy Federal Dropship.
In March we had 1.2 “Wings” update which added the PvP’ers favourite Fer-de-Lance and the bulldog of space, the Vulture. As the name suggested, this update added the ability to join three friends in a group with a means of finding each other and travelling as a group. This had more than its fair share of troubles due to instancing. While mostly behind us, instancing still occasionally rears its invisible head and blocks us from seeing each other. 1.2 also added shield boosters & cell banks, changing the combat mechanic. The price of fuel levelled out, rather than scaling up with the value of your ship – previously a ton of fuel would cost 100’s of times as much for a Type 9 as it did for a Viper.
Between these updates Elite hit the Steam sales platform for the first time, bring the game to a wider audience, followed by its first release on the Apple Mac in May.
Not until June did the next major update for the PC surface and this one, the 1.3 “PowerPlay” proved controversial. Many couldn’t see what it was for. Basically Frontier’s version of space power struggle & politics got, at best, a lukewarm reception. Since its launch PowerPlay has proved to be Marmite - with some people loving its benefits, while others ignoring it totally, or railing against it in the forums. On a positive note, 1.3 brought two new ships – the DiamondBack in Scout and Explorer flavours and the Imperial Courier; a long-range combat ship. I was indifferent to PowerPlay, but have since changed my stance and think it has its place.
In September we got the 1.4 “Close Quarters Combat” as did the Xbox one, taking the game to its third platform. With 1.4 we had a new arena combat mini game added. Personally I have found CQC fun in short bursts, but lacking any lasting appeal; I just want to get back to my “real” spaceship. In the core game, 1.4 added a greater variety to missions, including the new salvage mission type and new types of extraction site for mining and bounty hunting. The Imperial Eagle (the poor man’s Clipper) was added to the game, along with the Federal Assault Ship and the Federal Gun Ship.
And so, on to today and the next update – 1.5 “Ships” which brings us an extra ship for CQC (The Imperial Fighter). It also adds the Asp Scout, Viper Mk IV and Keelback, plus the Imperial Cutter; the largest ship in the game so far and the Federal Corvette a hardened battleship with everything, except half-decent jump range (12Lyr) which is it’s Achilles heel. The Cutter is fast and sexy, but turns like an oil tanker. Also these ships both require the 12th naval rank in the Federation and Empire, so not just any riff-raff can buy them (me included right now!). The core game has been given a lot of polish and missions have expanded again in number and type. Integration with version 2.0 have been added to the game, so what I would describe as “feature bleed” is taking place, giving core players access to some of the goodies Horizons players will see.
Now Elite is about to launch into its second year or Season, and we’re starting with Horizons, the biggest update yet! My X52 pro shows no signs of dust and I haven’t played more than a couple of hours on any other game all year. My main concern now being that I have the cash for a headset and the graphics card needed to play Elite in VR next year.
Multi-crew, player avatars, maybe even a PS4 version of Elite? Prepare 2016 for launch…
Last week at EGX I met a lot of really great people. One person I met was new to Elite: Dangerous, although he knew of the Elite games of old.
CMDR Satvia bought the game at the show and made a note of my gaming community group (www.deadmen.co.uk) as the URL was on my hat.
He popped on our teamspeak channel the following week, after registering with the forums and we started to talk through how to play the game, solve issues with outfitting and where to find things in-game. With all the usual dMw banter!
During the conversation I explained what I had been doing with merits and bounty hunting for Arissa Lavigny-Duval (see my previous post) and Satvia, being more interested in combat, asked if a new pilot could achieve the rank 5 and associated riches with just a basic ship.
Satvia threw himself into the task with enormous enthusiasm - first we Winged up and went bounty hunting in a resource extraction site and raised some cash to furnish his ship.
On evening one, we had the Sidewinder fully decked out and ready for long travel. Evening two, Satvia had relocated his ship to ALD space and some more RES hunting brought over a million credits, plenty to upgrade to the slower but hardier Cobra Mk III.
Then the merit hunting began! Slow initially, but with help from CMDR SneakyTiger, CMDR Ranualf, CMDR AgentZigZag from dMw and miscellaneous like-minded commanders in OPEN play, we racked up merits for five days. By Tuesday evening, Satvia had over 8000 merits, with two evenings to go before the PowerPlay cycle, it was a cynch!
When I arrived home from work this evening, CMDR Satvia had posted that he had hit the magic 10,000 earlier in the day!
Here is his video showing him posting the final merits and telling it in his own words!
After the various announcements so far at GamesCom 2015 we know a lot more about the forthcoming CQCC add-on to Elite: Dangerous and the other content being added.
We've heard a lot about it and that it will be a (short) Xbox One exclusive.
When is being released?
September, first on the Xbox and then on the PC a day or two later. The Beta for 1.4 has been confirmed for September 1st!
What else is in the update?
- Player factions are being added to the game. Groups of players can have their own faction and homeworld and (if they want) work up influence to make themselves a Power.
- The mission system is getting some love.
- Legal salvage missions are coming, so you can grab booty on the right side of the law.
- Delivery, courier and smuggling will gain long range variants that can set destinations from tens to hundreds of light years away for long haul missions.
- A new variant on the massacre mission will have higher numbers and greater time for a more sustained strike against the mission target.
- An even more hazardous extraction site has been added to provide a more dangerous environment.
- Changes to the background simulation are being made around systems changing from war / civil war states and also around population and political stability based on population size.
- Frontier has confirmed that assets from CQC will be included in the main game.
What new ships will there be?
The Imperial Eagle
A variant of the Eagle with a larger power generator, higher straight line speed, a medium hard-point on top and a less agile flight model.
Federal Dropship Mark II "Federal Assault Ship"
An improved combat model of it's predecessor. A more agile flight model and two medium plus two large hard-points (instead of four medium and one large) this is at the expense of some internals space.
And finally the Federal Gunship which will have two small hard-points, four medium hard-points and one large hard-point. This will be a large ship and with those seven weapon hard-points, will be the second best armed ship in the game after the Anaconda. While similar to the dropship in shape, it has delta wings at the back, more like a Vulture and what appear to be folding fins at the front. Much has been made of the large hatch visible on the underside. It looks like the Anaconda's landing bay hatch.