At its inaugural Frontier Expo, Elite Dangerous’ developers revealed what they have planned for the next 12 months of updates. Along with quality of life improvements and graphical overhauls, the biggest addition will be a new kind of player organisation: Squadrons. These player groups centre around a fleet carrier – a mobile base where members can refuel, rearm, and respawn.
Frontier announced that two major updates were planned in 2018, one in Q1 and the other in Q4, with two other content updates scheduled to take place in between.
The Q1 update will make a number of changes, including toughening system police, improving their AI, making criminal infractions a more dangerous choice. Other changes include giving us more trade data, giving you the tools to make more informed decisions with your trade deals; a new set of wing missions to be played in co-op with your friends; and a very welcome change will be a graphical upgrade for planet surfaces, including widening the colour palette for planet surfaces.
A neat upcoming feature is Galnet audio, a synthetic voice that will read out the procedurally generated news stories that come out of your play.
Frontier also showed off two new ships, the Chieftain and the Krait. The Chieftain is a whole new military vessel, looking like something that could easily fit in the Halo universe. The Krait is a remake of a ship that was available way back in the original game.
Other upcoming additions looking like a suite of new weapons. We weren’t told much about them but, what with the encroaching Thargoid menace, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were particularly good at cutting through alien armour.
The Q4 update is the big release of 2018, adding squadrons. Larger than wings, this new player group will have its own communication tools, specially designed to cater to its larger membership. The big plus of a squadron, though, is that it allows players to buy their own fleet carrier, a mobile base where members of the squadron can respawn in battle.
Along with squadrons, the update will revamp mining, giving an old west flavour to Elite’s oldest pastime. You’ll be given the tools to crack open asteroids with blasting rods, forcing them to spill out their specialist ores to the stars.
Frontier also showed off concept art of changes they hope to bring to planetary surfaces, changes that will give much greater variety to ground-level exploration.
Just take a look:
All these updates will be free to players who own the Horizon expansion, Frontier say.