Elite Dangerous has been steadily growing since its release, and it’s fascinating to see how it’s grown as a game and cultivated a dedicated community around it and uncovering its secrets. The recent 2.4 update brought the Thargoid back as a real and present threat, but Frontier have now turned their eyes to 2018 and Beyond. Literally, the next year of content is being branded ‘Beyond’ and it will be free to all Elite Dangerous: Horizons players.
2018 will see the Beyond season of content start in Q1 with a foundational update that sets them up to add two content updates with more ships, missions and scenarios through the year and another major update in Q4 that will be the largest of the four.
The first update will bring lots of quality of life changes to the game, so crafting gear will always result in something better than what you’ve got, crime and punishment will be bolstered to really dish out the punishment, you’ll have better and more accurate trade data and a series of challenging wing missions to take on with your friends.
While the overarching narrative has been progressing over the last few years, Beyond will also bring more personal narrative to follow, with your participation in these opening up new equipment to use and, of course, expanding the story of the Guardians and the Thargoid. When you’re taken down to a planet’s surface, you’ll see the benefits of an overhaul to the shaders and graphical diversity with the planets.
Here’s a mixture of in-game graphics and concept art to illustrate this:
The mid-year content updates will add more things to do, but it’s the Q4 update that will bring more sizeable changes. Squadrons will be a new clan-like system that you can set up and manage, with enhanced communication options to better coordinate with your Squadron. You’ll also be able to purchase your own fleet carrier as a mobile base of operations. If you’re into mining, then you’ll be overjoyed to hear that this is being an overhaul to really flesh this side of the game out.
And again, the graphics engine will be pushed even further. A new lighting system will be added in Q4 to improve lighting globally, and the planets will be polished even further with a “scatter rock” system to populate the planets with boulders alongside localised ambient effects for fog and vapour.
All of this is obviously quite far in the future and really just a snapshot of what Frontier want to do with the game. In the here and now, players are only just starting to dig into the 2.4 update which has just been released with the full return of the Thargoid aliens and the narrative threads that those have brought.