In Elite Dangerous, April is the friendliest month. The game’s next update, which puts a major focus on helping to bring new players into the fold, and is named the April update (which is less ominous than the Beyond chapters that came before) will, slightly unsurprisingly, release on April 23.
In an announcement last night, developer Frontier said that “this year’s initial updates will focus on introducing quality of life improvements and improving the welcoming experience for beginners.” To that end, the update will include a Beginners’ Zone that “can only be accessed by pilots until they earn their first Combat, Trade, or Exploration rank,” and will offer simpler missions than those on offer elsewhere in the galaxy.
Once you’ve progressed into the wider expanse of space, however, there are even more options for newer pilots. New modules will make docking and supercruising easier, with an Advanced Docking Computer helping you automatically undock from stations without crashing, and Supercruise assist allowing you to maintain the correct course all the way to your destination, even dropping you out of Supercruise at the perfect moment. You’ll still have to land for yourself, though.
To help these new modules actually fit on your ships, all small ships will be automatically outfitted with two ‘optional internal’ slots, while medium and large ships will get one extra slot. This change will be retroactively applied to all ships.
Elsewhere, the newly-revamped cockpit is getting even more changes, with a Navigation Panel showing off mission targets, plotted routes, and threat level notifications to help you stay out of trouble. Threat level is getting expanded across the entire galaxy (having previously only shown up in certain spots).
On top of all that, there are new community events, a Pilot’s Handbook, and tweaks to the trading screen. The new update arrives on April 23, but if you want an early look, Frontier will be showing off the new content in a livestream on Thursday, April 18.
In other Frontier news, the studio is clearly gearing up for something new. A new unannounced first-party IP will launch later this year, and it’s also got its hands on “a major global IP” – although nobody has any idea what exactly that might be.