Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

Elite: Dangerous Ship Size Comparison for 2.2 Guardians

With the addition of the Beluga Liner and the new Taipan fighter, I have created a revised version with the new ships added.

1080p version

For those of you with big screens, the 1080p version (above) and a 4K version are on an Imgur.com gallery here.

By request of CMDR Cullingworth on the Elite: Dangerous Facebook group, here is a PDF version. Be warned - it's a big file!

elite-ships-11.pdf (35.61 mb)

2.2 Guardians BETA First Impressions

Audio

The first thing I noticed about the game when I got things up and running was the sound. It was, to my ears, louder and the sound had a greater range. Once again, Frontier have tweaked various effects. The sound of the Kill Warrant Scanner has changed. I will have to keep an ear out for what else has changed.

Ship launched fighters and crew

Well, they have packaged and delivered that “BattleStar Galactica” moment perfectly. The fighter launch is amazing! I tried out a Condor and a Taipan fighter and had a fly around – I haven’t tested them in battle yet, since I never got that far from the station. The ships seem a little slower than they did in CQC. The AI crew doesn’t fly my Corvette as well as I do! The pilot just loops around me until ordered to stay put.

The “orders” menu is fairly intuitive. You can instruct the fighter to fly in formation, stay put, attack your target or attack at will. These options can be picked in either the fighter or the mother-ship to control the one you aren’t flying.

You need a minimum Class 5 internal slot for a fighter bay. A Class 6 fighter bay can have two slots and equip two fighters, sadly however, you can only ever deploy one. I did try sending my crew out in one ship and deploying myself in the second, but it didn't work - the crewman just got swapped back to the mother-ship and I was left flying the already-deployed fighter. Ah well!

If your fighter gets destroyed, you or your crew-mate are unharmed, since it is flown on remote. The fighter bay then rebuilds (grows? prints?) the fighter.

The crew you need to fly the fighters are recruited in the new "Crew Lounge". They have varying ranks and the better they are, the more they cost. I think Austin Powers must be in charge of HR there because the first crewman I saw was Ivanna Bonner and depending on how you pronounce it {bon-nar or bone-her}, the name is slightly comical, if inappropriate!

You can have up to three crew mates on payroll, but only one "active".

New Engineers

Pretty much as soon at the station hangar had appeared, so did an invitation in my InBox. A new Engineer! How many others will there be? I'm not sure. We have fifteen so far and Frontier bandied the number thirty around when Engineers were first mentioned. So will we get another fifteen? Or will we get another five per release for the rest of the season? That's my guess.

As I find out what upgrades they perform, who they are and where, I will publish a follow-up to my earlier Engineers article.

New training missions

The entire set of tutorial missions has been reworked and now includes training missions for mining and ship launched fighters. If you're never tried the training missions, well shame on you! Do them. Now!! Also, if you - like me - haven't played any since the game was released, it is worth a retry. They are a good showcase of the game.

I did find there was a bug in the ship launched fighter mission for VR users and I have reported it.

Blimey! That’s a big one!

New stuff has been added to Elite. Space furniture. Things to see and interact with. All that mile wide, inch deep nonsense is so 2014! Within a few minutes of flying around the game, I came across a "Military Installation" which looked like some part of the CQC scenery. It doesn't matter I've seen the models before, the station looked incredible. And huge. It dwarfed anything I've seen before. My Corvette looked like a Viper next to the massive structure.

It was also rather hostile to my presence and didn't like my fighter taking a poodle around too close. My fighter was destroyed and I had to beat a hasty retreat to super-cruise. That'll teach me to switch to debug camera in unknown territory!

The Beluga Liner

As new kid on the block, the Beluga is the latest ship to arrive in the game. It was priced slightly higher than the Type-9, so I would estimate it will sell for around the 90M CR price-point.
The ship is slow, but feels quite agile for its size and handles well. The audio is, as always, amazing. Being an Oculus CV1 user, I got a good look around the ships bridge and it seems a very shiny hybrid of the Anaconda's bridge and the Orca's.

D rated, the ship had a jump range of just over 21 light years.

Ship relocation

The BETA uses a server backup from a month ago, back then my Anaconda was back in SOL at Mars High, so I requested it's relocation to Jameson Memorial in Shinrarta Dezrha, using the new "Ship Transfer" option in the Shipyard menu. All your stored ships locations are listed with a price and transfer time. My Anaconda cost 6,500 CR and took 15 minutes to transfer. Relocation takes place in real time, so if you set off relocation and come back tomorrow, it'll have all been done while you out of the game.

Pink lasers baby! Yeah!

A new option on the ship livery menu in outfitting is Weapon Colour. Will this be another cosmetic digital download option? Looks like it. For those that want a distinctive look for their ships can have it, without shifting the balance of weapons in the game. So pink lasers for everyone darling!

The not-so-good bits

When I ran the game it crashed. A lot. After five quits-to-desktop, Frontier issued an update, which I duly downloaded - however my PC needed a restart before my Oculus drivers recovered from their earlier harsh treatment.

The servers were clearly overloaded by all the players having a go. I think sometimes Frontier underestimate how popular their game is. A lot of lapsed players come back for new releases.

Anyway, so far all my problems stemmed from server stability and the issues from the first point release (let's call it 2.2.1). Late last night I managed a couple of hours of solid game-play with the 2.2.2 version. That's why they call it a BETA test.

Unlocking engineers

The Thargoids are coming! The Thargoids are coming!

Okay, so that’s probably an overreaction, or maybe it isn’t. It could be a race of peaceful fish. We don’t know. But just in case…

…I need to unlock the Engineers. All the Engineers. Since many of these esteemed individuals require an introduction from each other, you need to unlock Engineers you might not want to deal with in order to gain access to the ones you do want interact with.

Some Engineers have short-cuts, but to unlock levels by building reputation with them, you need to upgrade modules. In many cases the higher level upgrades require rare commodities and materials and data, but the level 1 upgrades don't, so...

A fast way to do to this is to repeatedly generate a low-cost level 1 upgrade that requires an abundant material, such as carbon.

If the Engineer is a prerequisite to another Engineers introduction, then your introduction message will be sent to you when you have unlocked the first Engineer to level 3 and 33% (to level 4).

I've managed to upgrade my primary ships to all have level 5 FSD upgrades, which means my Anaconda now jumps over 40Lyr unladen!

However, if I am going to have super-dooper shields and kill-em-dead lasers, I need to unlock a few other Engineers first.

Who are the Engineers and what do they do?

Here’s a quick list of the fifteen Engineers discovered so far. The numbers indicate the level of upgrade they provide. Each Engineer is discovered an unlocked by a variety of criteria. Thanks to CMDRs Huntemdown and Sir Clip for providing some of the information here.

Broo Tarquin

Muang  Muang 5A Broo's legacy
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Hera Tani.
Gain access: when you reach Competent or higher combat rank.
Initial contract: 50T of Fujin Tea - obtain this from Futen Spaceport at Fujin.
Modules / maximum level: Beam lasers , Burst lasers , Pulse lasers
Short-cut to reputation: none.

Colonel Bris Dekker

Sol Iaptus Dekker's yard
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Juri Ishmaak.
Gain access: reach Friendly status with the Federation.
Initial contract: 10,000,000CR of Combat Bonds (double-ouch!).
Modules / maximum level: Frame Shift Drives , Frame shift drive interdictors
Short-cut to reputation: none.

NOTE: Sol is a permit-only system so you will also need to earn a Sol permit by doing missions for the Federation and attaining the rank of Petty Officer (rank 4) in the Federal Navy.

Didi Vatermann

Leesti Leesti 3A Vatermann LLC
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Selene Jean.
Gain access: reach the rank of Merchant or higher.
Initial contract: 50T of Lavian Brandy - this is a rare commodity purchased at Lave Station in Lave, but can only be bought in volumes of 3-6T, so you'll have to make multiple trips.
Modules / maximum level: Shield boosters , Shield Generators 
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Vatermann LLC station.

Elvria Martuk

Khun Khun 5 Long sight base
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: travel at least 300lyr away from your start system.
Initial contract: 3T of Sooltil relics - obtain from Soontil at Cheranovsky City station in Ngurii.
Modules / maximum level: Frame Shift Drives , Shield Generators , Thrusters , Shield Cell Banks
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her cartographic data.

Felicity Farseer

Deciat Deciat 6A Farsee Inc
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: reach the rank of Scout in Exploration.
Initial contract: 1T of Meta-Alloys - obtain from Darnielle's Progress planetary base in Maia.
Modules / maximum level: Frame Shift Drives , Frame shift drive interdictors , Power generators , Shield boosters , Thrusters
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her cartographic data.

NOTE: Farseer Inc also sells Enhanced Performance Thrusters at the station outfitting. These can be bought regardless of the Engineer unlock state. EPT's come in Class 2A and Class 3A only.

Hera Tani

Kuwemaki  Kuwemaki A 3A The jet's hole
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Liz Ryder.
Gain access: reach an Imperial Navy rank of Outsider or higher.
Initial contract: 50T of Kamitra Cigars - obtain these at Hammel Terminal in Kamitra.
Modules / maximum level: Power distributors , Power Generators
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at The Jet's Hole station.

Juri Ishmaak

Giryak Giryak 2A Pater's memorial
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Felicity Farseer.
Gain access: when you have earned more than fifty combat bonds.
Initial contract: 1,000,000CR of combat bonds (ouch!).
Modules / maximum level: Mine launchers , Missile racks , Torpedo pylons 
Short-cut to reputation: Handing in combat bonds at Pater's Memorial station.

Lei Cheung

Laksak Laksak A1 Trader's rest
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with The Dweller.
Gain access: when you have bought or sold goods at fifty different stations.
Initial contract: 200T of gold, which can be bought in system from Laumer City or West City stations.
Modules / maximum level: Shield boosters , Shield Generators
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Trader's Rest station.

Liz Ryder

Eurybia  Makalu Demolition unlimited
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access:
take missions for or trade with Eurybia Blue Mafia in the Eurybia system until you reach a Cordial state with the faction.
Initial contract: 200T of Landmines, which can only be bought at planet bases (such as Leonov Depot in Alpha Caeli, Eckford Survey in LHS 1651 or Dedekind Bastion in Njojujil).
Modules / maximum level: Armour , Hull reinforcement packages , Mine lauchers , Missile racks , Torpedo pylons
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Demolition Unlimited base.

Marco Qwent

Sirius Lucifer Qwent research base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% with Elvira Martuuk.
Gain access: by invitation from Sirius Corporation - this is obtained by taking mission for the faction at Sirius until you reach Allied status with Sirius Corporation.
Initial contract: 25T of Modular Terminals - obtain these from missions for Sirius Corporation at Efremov Plant planetary base, close to Qwent Research base.
Modules / maximum level: Power distributors , Power Generators
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her cartographic data.

NOTE: The Sirius system is a permit-only system and can only be accessed by completing missions for Sirius Corporation until you reach Allied status with the faction. Procyon is a system where your can find Sirius Corporation missions.

Professor Palin

Maia  Maia A 3A Palin research centre
Learn about: reach level 3 at 33% reputation with Marco Qwent.
Gain access: when you have visited a system at least 5,000Lyr from your original start system.
Initial contract: 25T of Unknown Fragments - these are found by visiting HIP 14479 and looking for Signal Sources called "Anomaly Detected [Threat 4]". In these you will find an Unknown Artifact floating in space. You need to carefully shoot this object so it shatters and collect the fragments. Each bit you collect contains 3 Unknown Fragments.
Modules / maximum level: Frame Shift Drives , Thrusters
Short-cut to reputation: Sell him cartographic data.

Selene Jean

Kuk Kuk 3B Prospector's rest
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% with Tod McQuinn.
Gain access: when you have mined 500T or more.
Initial contract: 10T of Painite - this can only be obtain from mining.
Modules / maximum level: Armour , Hull reinforement packages
Short-cut to reputation: Sell her cartographic data and sell goods at Prospector's Rest station.

The Dweller

Wyrd  Wyrd A2 Black hide
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: You must do business at at least five black markets before he will see you.
Initial contract: 500,000 CR donation.
Modules / maximum level: Beam lasers , Power distributors , Pulse lasers
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Black hide base.

Tod "The Blaster" McQuinn

Wolf 397 Trus Madi Trophy camp
Learn about: revealed by default.
Gain access: hand in fifteen or more bounties.
Initial contract: Bring him 100,000CR worth of bounty.
Modules / maximum level: Cannons , Fragment cannons , Multi-cannons , Rail guns
Short-cut to reputation: Hand in bounty for Alliance systems at Trophy Camp station.

Zachariah Nemo

Yoru  Yoru 4 Nemo cyber party base
Learn about: reach level 3 and 33% reputation with Elivira Martuuk.
Gain access: You must then do missions for Party of Yoru in the Yoru system. Once allied with the faction, you will receive an invitation to the Engineer.
Initial contract: Zachariah requires a donation of 25T of Xihe Biomorphic Companions - get these from Xihe at Zhen Dock.
Modules / maximum level: Fragment cannons , Multi-cannons , Plasma accelerators 
Short-cut to reputation: Sell goods at Nemo Cyber Party base.

 

Tips for Beginners: Mining

To take up the career path of mining in Elite: Dangerous, you need some basic equipment on your ship and the location of a rocky or icy planetary ring. Having these, you can go and refine the chunks you blast off of asteroids into their base minerals or metals and sell them. Why is doing this better than buying and selling them between stations? Because there is no cost to the commodities you mine, which means every credit of their sale value is pure profit.

Mining; to some it’s the fishing of space, to others it is figuratively and actually, grinding rocks.

Equipping your ship

The absolute minimum equipment needed for mining is a refinery, some cargo racks and one or more mining lasers. This means the bar for entry into a mining career is pretty low. So what are these items for and what should I choose?

You can equip a Sidewinder with a Class 1E refinery and a single mining laser for 12,800 CR, while a single ton of Palladium can sell for over 13,000 CR, so there's money in them thar rocks!

Mining lasers

The mining lasers drill into asteroids and cause chunks containing minerals or metals to break off and float into space. You can then retrieve these chunks and pick them up in your cargo scoop to be refined. Mining lasers are fixed hard-point weapons and only come in Class 1 and Class 2 (small and medium) sizes. They are purely for mining and cannot be used to shoot other ships, so effectively remove those hard-points for defence. Unless you manage to obtain the PowerPlay reward weapons, the Mining Lance, which can function as both a mining laser and as a weapon.

For best results; two Class 2 mining lasers.

Refinery

The refinery is a specialist internal slot equipment item that takes ore from the cargo scoop, grinds it and extracts the valuable metals and minerals into bins. When these bins are 100% filled with a single commodity, they are emptied into a one ton cargo cannister and transferred to your ships cargo hold, freeing the bin for a new item (or more of the same).

The bigger and better a refinery, the more bins you get. A Class 1E refinery has one bin, while a Class 1A has four. The largest refinery is Class 4A and has ten bins. What this means is that the more bins you have, the more things you can refine at one time. If you only have two bins and find a asteroid that contains three metals, you will keep having to discard the hopper contents of the third commodity to manually "unblock" your refinery. This can be time consuming, so you must either get a refinery with enough bins to keep up with the different types of ore, otherwise you'll be throwing a lot of money into space.

The refined ore can be held in the refinery and is not considered cargo, so you can go back to mining at a later date and fill the other 50% of the bin with Gold to get that ton of cargo. Ships can also be stored with partially filled refineries.

Mining process

For best results; the biggest refinery you can afford to fit!

Cargo racks

It may seem obvious, but you do need a cargo hold to stick the refined metals and minerals into, when you have processed them. You should, for maximum profit, use all free internal slots for cargo space. The more you fill, the more credits you make.

For best results; it's all about the cargo space!

Scooping your brains out

When you are mining, you need to collect the ore into your cargo scoop. To do this manually, you must line up each fragment in your sights and click "target" then, with your cargo hatch deployed, scoop the ore from space. When the cargo scoop is deployed, your target reticule changes to a range-finder with a cross-hair. Keeping the targeted fragment in the middle of the cross-hair, slowly approach the object and it will pass below the nose of your ship and into your cargo scoop. With a clang!

Scooping

While scooping ore to fill the six ton cargo space on a Sidewinder is not too arduous, however drilling and scooping to fill a largeer cargo hold is exceedingly laborious. So, in 1.2 of Elite: Dangerous, Frontier introduced Limpets that do the work for you.

Limpets for the win

Limpets are autonomous drones that carry out tasks while under remote control from your ship. There are fuel limpets to transfer fuel, hatch-breaker limpets that help pirates break open other ships cargo hatches and (what we are interested in) collector limpets, which grab any ore, materials or canisters in range of you ship and return them to your cargo scoop.

To use collector limpets, you need a Collector Limpet Controller fitted to an internal slot on your ship. Collector Controllers come in odd number classes – 1, 3, 5 & 7. The larger the class, the more limpets you can control at once and the longer the limpets will last and the further their range. You can (unlike refineries) have multiple limpet controllers, so they stack.

My Anaconda is equipped for mining and has two Class 5 Collector Limpet Controllers, so the ship commands six limpets at once - when mining ore the limpets rapidly collect all the spoil as it leaves the asteroid.

Limpet controllers program limpet drones and these have to be purchased, like ammo, in a station. Limpets are purchased from “Restock” menu and take up one ton of cargo space per drone. How many should you buy? As a rule of thumb, you should fill your cargo hold to 50-60% capacity with drones before heading out to a resource extraction site. Since drones have a finite lifespan and can be destroyed in collisions with asteroid, there is a fairly rapid turnover of drones.

When using drones, do not target ore (or canisters or materials) as the drone that collects the targeted item will self-destruct on return to your ship. Don’t ask me why.

Prospecting

The last type of limpet controller not already mentioned is the Prospector Limpet Controller. These also come in odd (not even) class sizes (1, 3, 5 & 7). They control one or more prospector limpets. What prospector limpets do, is when fired into an asteroid, tell you what ore the asteroid contains, what percentage of ores the asteroid is composed of and finally, the percentage you have mined that asteroid.

The Prospector Limpet tells you what you’ll get, when you have depleted the asteroid of ore and the best part; the limpet increases the yield of ore you can obtain.

Prospector limpets are well worth the cost, as they help you mine asteroids for the ore you want and give you a better volume of material.

The perfect mining ship

The ideal ship for mining should have both a Collector and Prospector Limpet Controller, two Class 2 mining lasers and all remaining internal racks converted to cargo space - half full of limpets.

Show me the money!

Okay, now you have your shiny new mining ship all set, where do you go?

You can mine in asteroid belts. These are usually found between the primary star and planets. The content of asteroid belts is determined by the type of star they orbit.

You can also mine for ore at any planetary ring, but there are three types of ring and each type will contain a different variety of ores.

  • Rocky rings - These contain Bauxite, Bertrandite, Cobalt, Coltan, Gallite, Indite, Lepidolite, Rutile and Uraninite.
  • Icy rings - These contain Bromellite, Hydrogen Peroxide, Lithium Hydroxide, Liquid Oxygen, Low Temperature Diamonds, Methane Clathrate, Methanol Monohydrate Crystals and Water.
  • Metal rich rings - These contain Bertrandite, Coltan, Gallite, Gold, Indite, Lepidolite, Osmium, Painite, Praseodymium, Samarium, Silver and Uraninite
  • Metallic rings - These contain Bertrandite, Gallite, Gold, Indite, Osmium, Painite, Palladium, Platinum, Praseodymium, Samarium and Silver

How do you know which is which? On the system map, selecting the second info TAB, you will see the ring type displayed. Which is best? Depends what ore or mineral you are seeking. The rare metals are only available in asteroids and are quite valuable. The most valuable items are Low Temperature Diamonds, but they are exceedingly rare, so in a time versus profit exercise, the metals will always win out.

Ring states

Another factor to be aware of is the ring state. How mined out are they?

Rings will start Pristine and then decrease in worth to Major, Common, Low and finally Depleted. Obviously you want the Pristine rings if you can find them, as they will give the highest yields.

A bit of time spent on the galaxy map finding systems with ringed worlds and then checking which are metallic and pristine, before you set out, will save you a lot of time and make you a lot more credits.

Now you have found a nice juicy pristine metallic ring and your ship is launch, where do you start?

Sauron is not the only one with ring trouble

The Resource Extraction Sites (Low, High and Hazardous) are obvious targets to head for when mining, but they attract both undesirable NPCs, police ships and other players. Not only have you got competition for resources, but also a high chance of attack. Now while these sites tend to have better ore content, they also carry higher risk. So you either want a wingman to guard your back or (after 2.2 hits) a deployable fighter. Some extra guns and armour can’t hurt – but you’re two hard-points down because of the mining lasers, so a hired gun is a better option.

The alternative is to just drop into a ring anywhere, at least 2000km from the nearest RES site. There may be a slightly lower yield of ore, but it is all yours and there will be nobody there to bother you or compete with.

If you decide to log off and resume mining later, leave the ring in super-cruise first! If you log off, then respawn in a ring, the game spawns a few NPCs around you and one of them will almost certainly be hostile.

Selling your cargo

Once you filled your hold (or run out of limpets) you then want to head to the nearest refinery economy station. These station economies tend to pay better rates for metals and minerals.

A number of Engineers require commodities for upgrades that can only be obtained from mining, so you have the opportunity to barter these items with other players who don't have a mining ship or don't want to pursue a career in the rock business. Even if you don’t have Horizons, you can still mine materials and ores that Horizons players need.

Another thing to be aware of, especially in refinery economy stations, is the mission board. You will often see mining missions that pay out thousands or even hundreds of thousands of credits for just a few tons of Painite or Palladium.

Always check the mission board BEFORE selling your cargo. You can pick up these high-value mining missions even if you already have the required commodity on board, so picking a couple of missions could easily multiply the value of your cargo a dozen times over!

 

 

The road to Thargoids: What we know so far

TTV 2Not everyone is fully up on where Elite:Dangerous is now with its ongoing saga of hunting for alien life, or the rich history behind it.

Alien 101

Back in 1984 when Elite hit the BBC Micro, the “bad guys” were an alien race known as the Thargoids. Beyond that, very little was known.  They flew octagonal saucer ships and would drag unsuspecting commanders out of the hyperspace tunnel (also called “witchspace”) and attack the commander in the deep black gulf of space between stars, where no help was available. Unless you were quick to fight or flee, it was certain death for most ships. The sight of their saucers was feared across the galaxy!

A decade or so later, in Frontier and Frontier 2 the lore of this race expanded and we found out that the Thargoids were an insectoid race with six limbs, resembling a praying mantis.

Since the release of Elite: Dangerous, and even before going right back to the 2012 KickStarter, the community has been speculating how and when the Thargoids might appear in the game.

Early signs

In March 2015, with the release of 1.2, Unknown Artefacts began to appear. These were being carried by Type-9 ships in a convoy in Strong Signal Sources. The NPC chatter was all about the "strange cargo" they carried. We also began to see them floating in space and they made a peculiar noise. You could pick them up in your ship's cargo scoop, but commanders found that their ship became rapidly damaged by holding one of these objects.

What did the noise mean?

There were two signals the UAs made. One was Morse code, which spelled out the system they were located. The other was a mystery until CMDR Mike Juliet Kilo realised the signal was co-ordinates and when plotted, drew his ship - a Vulture!

Throughout 1.3 the UAs kept making these same noises, but began to be found in space always pointing towards the Merope system...

Blistering Barnacles!

In January 2016, after the 2.0 release of the Horizons expansion, explorers found alien structures on the planet Merope 5C. These objects resembled barnacles or some kind of ocean shell, with crystalline spikes appearing to grow out of the ground around them. The spikes could be blasted into fragments with the SRV turret and one spike would yield a large emerald-like crystal, that when harvested using the SRV cargo scoop was revealed to be a meta material.

Meta materials and UA bombing

Commanders who noticed that the Unknown Artefacts damaged their ship, tried various things to avoid having their ship destroyed while hanging on to the UA they'd discovered. However, the side-effect of their sheltering inside a station, was that the station itself took damage and station services would shut down. Enterprising CMDRs then found that by delivering and selling multiple UAs to a single station could shut it down and thus "UA Bombing" was born. Deliberate sabotage of stations using UAs as a weapon.

Subsequently, it was discovered that the Meta Materials harvested from so-called "Barnacles" could repair UA-Bombed stations.

More and more barnacles have been discovered in the systems around Merope and seem to favour systems inside nebulas.

Unknown probe

Unknown Probe

In May 2016, Horizons 2.1 shipped and explorers began to discover smaller unknown artefacts, which were named Unknown Probes. These objects were active rather than passive, like their predecessors. When scanned with a discovery scanner they would emit an electro-magnetic pulse, disabling nearby ships and then play a data signal.

The signal was decoded in June by CMDR Muetdhiver and CMDR Wace. When fed through a spectrum analyser the audio produced a hazy diagram.

Probe signal

When cleaned up, the signal is clearly some kind of iconography.

Clean signal

General consensus is that the diagram represents some kind of address, but no definitive meaning has yet been found.

UPDATE: The guys on the Canonn Research Thread (#8) have noticed that the Unknown Probes appear to be seeking ammonia based worlds.

GamesCon hints

During GamesCom in early August, Frontier's live streams were "interrupted" by alien signals, which were overlaid with binary and ASCII messages.

Once again, the guys at Canonn Research put their collective brains to the problem and solved the puzzle and this week - CMDR Nochtrach, CMDR BALALAIKAX3 and CMDR Ihazevich found the clues Frontier gave led to an alien wreck site on the moon of Pleiades Sector AB-W B2-4,
Planet 9A at co-ordinates -26,3772°, 97,6982°.

Alien wreck site

The wreck is very reminiscent of Ridley Scott/H.R. Gieger's Alien spacecraft. A bio-mechanical craft, laying in the bottom of a valley. The craft was huge – far bigger than any human ship in the game.

CMDR Niamhy has even mocked up what the ship may have looked like before it crashed. Scary.

Alien ship

So, is it Thargoids?

Well truthfully, nobody outside Frontier knows. The ship doesn't resemble the earlier Thargoid ships. Are they friendly or not? Again, we don't yet know. What transpires next is anybody's guess and may be decided by who finds them first and who shoots first (or not).

Be careful out there. We are not alone...

 

The Beluga Liner - What do we know?

The Beluga Liner has been a long time coming. The ship was first touted in Newsletter #10 back in August 2013 - three years ago!

Beluga Liner with Orca and Dolphin

As you can see it's design has evolved from concept to implementation.


Beluga Liner in game

The only other ships we've seen in concept that are not yet implemented are the small passenger ship, the Dolphin and the huge trade ship, the Panther LX. Although we did get a sneak peek at the final Dolphin, but Frontier did not confirm it for 2.2.

So how big is the Beluga Liner?

Frontier don't give out specifications - they let the players grab data from the game, however FDEV did post a photo from October 2014 that showed a whiteboard with the list of ships on it, which (even back then) included the Beluga and the Corvette.

Top secret stuff

As you can see (with a bit of squinting) the Beluga is the same length as the Anaconda with a narrower body, the Beluga's tail making it slightly longer and a great deal wider.

Obviously this is going to be a large landing pad ship

What's it's role?

The Beluga Liner is primarily a passenger vessel.

Like the Orca, it will be able to carry luxury and first class cabins that other ships won't, so the ship will be required to pursue a career in tourism and luxury travel, the profitable end of the new passenger industry.

The internal slots may also be restricted to cabins rather than other equipment, just as the Orca.

The ship has 6 utility slots and has the following internal module slots:-

  • 4 x Class 3
  • 1 x Class 4
  • 2 x Class 5
  • 4 x Class 6

This should give you massive passenger capacity. And maybe some cargo capacity too?

Is the Beluga armed?

It has been confirmed that the Beluga will have five medium hard-points. That would give it comparable fire-power to an Imperial Clipper (I rate fire-power by multiplying the number of hard-points by their class size).

But, in addition to five Class 2 weapons, the Beluga will also have a fighter bay. So it won't be a warship, but it'll be far from helpless either.

How fast is the Beluga?

Well, not very. But a ship that size is not going to be a racer. Sandro said on Tuesday's Lave Radio interview that the Beluga was the same speed as the Hauler, so it will be 200M/s with 300M/s on boost. Now that is faster than an Anaconda and Corvette, but slower than the Cutter. He didn't comment on agility, but we would expect something similar to the Anaconda's flight model as the ships are of similar size.

The ship will come equipped with a Class 7 FSD drive, but because of the Beluga's size, won't give a high jump range.

 

Oh, yes! I have revamped the site

I had some problems with the old blog limiting content for each post, so I have switched blog engines to something a bit more flexible.

I will be back-filling the old site content over the next day or so.

Believe it or not, the Elite: Dangerous Blog has had 569,192 hits in the last two years.

Hope you like the new format!

2.2 Guardians in mid-October

Frontier had a busy week at GamesCom and made a lot of announcements about the coming features of 2.2 and revealed a lot more detail.

Tourst destinations

No ships for ages, then two come along at once

The 2.2 update will bring a new ship; the Beluga Liner, which as its name suggests, is a vast passenger liner. Somewhere between an Anaconda and Corvette in size, this large ship is aimed at servicing the new passenger missions.

Beluga Taipan

Also added is a new fighter craft, the Taipan; this joins the F63 Condor and Imperial Fighter as ship-launch-able fighters. The Taipan is the “tank” of the three. With the fighters added to the main game, along with the Beluga, there are now 33 ships in game.

Guardians Guardian; singular

The reveal of the ship launched fighters show video of a BattleStar Galacica-esque ship launch and the power, speed and manoeuvrability of the new fighters – much more so than their CQC versions – we saw a Condor smack down a Python in very short order. But it was stated that we’d only be able to hold one fighter per ship. A Keelback was used for the demo and it was confirmed that Anaconda, Beluga Liner, Federal Corvette, Federal Gunship, Imperial Cutter, and Type-9 would all be fighter-bay capable mother-ships. You will be able to “hot swap” between your fighter and main ship.

Launching fighter

F63 Condor Imperial Fighter

NPC Crew

Before you deploy your fighter without flying it yourself, you need to hire crew to fly them. You can hire 3 crew and their skill level has a cost attached, although you can rank up your employees as they fly, so fighter pilot apprenticeships are going to be a thing. There is now a “crew lounge” in stations where candidates can be recruited. While you may have three crew employed, you can only take one of them with you.

The Crew Lounge

Station variety, capital ship docks and military bases

Stations will now have very distinct interiors, denoted by their economy so we now have refinery, high tech, tourism and agricultural stations in addition to the plain and palm tree versions.
Frontier are also adding a bit more space furniture in the form of capital ship docks and military bases. They have also promised other unique sights including a ship graveyard from Elite lore.

Tourist station   Agricultural station   Refinery station   High tech station

Captial ship dock

Galaxy maps and surface maps

The galaxy map now has an amazing new feature that allows you to filter routes. Why is that great? Because now you can plot routes that only include scoop-able stars or via high security (safe) systems. Looking in the system map now shows the planet surface in exact miniature, displaying the terrain.

Galaxy map route filters

Stored ship relocation

Why couldn’t we have had this when I needed to move 29 ships to SOL from Shinrarta? Well, now you can select a ship in storage in any station shipyard and for a small fee, relocate it instantly to your present location. What will the transfer fees be to Jacques I wonder?
You could therefore fly to a remote location in your DBX with a high jump range, and then summon your Vulture. You can also remotely sell your stored ships.

Ship relocation

Skins and ship kits

There will be a number of ship skins being added to 2.2 as well as (for the first time) SRV skins and skins for the new fighter-class ships. In addition, there are ship kits (wings and spoilers) for the Vulture, Asp Explorer, Viper Mk 3 and Python.

Python ship kit Vulture ship kit Viper Mk 3 ship kit Asp Explorer ship kit

Fighter paint options

Passengers

So finally (big sigh) the Orca has a point to its existence! And with the new Beluga Liner (whatever that will cost) you can ferry bulk passengers around the galaxy, take passengers on luxury tours and visit the colourful corners of the galaxy and get paid.

First class passengers

Passengers can travel in economy, first class or (with passenger vessels) Luxury suites. You’ll need the passenger ships specifically to carry VIPs around in first class and luxury cabins. Standard ships will take passengers but only in economy cabins.

Beluga Liner

Volcanism (not Mister Spock, volcanoes!)

With 2.2 will come Volcanism, that means geysers, fumaroles and (hopefully full-blown volcanoes) and I hope, the ability to land on lava worlds.

Volcanic world Geysers and fumaroles

The Space Madness Sets In

I've been jumping and scooping and honking.

A lot.

Yep, I'm onwards to Jacques station.

Thing is though, when you only play the game for a few hours a day, the trip takes a long time.

I've been leaving a trail of newly discovered worlds in my wake and haven't seen a soul in well over a week.

Lots of green dots on the galaxy map. There's more than a few CMDRs on their way out or back the the new bubble.

I'll get there eventually.

I plan to be back by GameCon, so watch this space for all the 2.2 (and other) Elite news as I get it!

It came from LaveCon 2016

This year’s event was great and I think people enjoyed my VR shipyard. A couple of CMDRs even crashed my racing Courier, although Kerrash failed to live up to his name – he only dented the shields!

I had a hilarious game of Artemis with Frontier & the Elite Ambassadors – they made me captain (eek!) but we didn’t die, so that was a result even if I have no idea how our score rated.

The Q&A session with Frontier was a highlight and FD didn’t disappoint, giving out special edition LaveCon skins for the Eagle, Asp scout, FDL and Anaconda! For both PC and XBOX CMDRs.

skins

Information obtained

I asked Michael Brookes some questions, carefully, because he was taking a six-foot-high axe out of his car at the time!

Will Elite support Nvidia’s new Ansel 360 degree pause and screenshot system?

There are no current plans, but maybe in the future.

Is there a (lore) reason the Imperial Eagle – a Gutamaya ship – has a Core Dynamics logo on the cockpit?

It’s a bug.

Michael also said that the new ship launched fighters would change the dynamic, making traders much more dangerous if they had them. Something we suspected would be the case.

The Frontier Q&A revealed more

Jacques station is going to end its wandering to start 2nd human “bubble”.

2.2 will introduce a local “player journal” containing a wealth of data for 3rd party interfaces and apps. Details to follow.

Passenger missions – CMDRs will need to scan objects at location to confirm they visited. These will include Battle locations and Historical sites. Some as far as 65-70,000 Lyr’s out. Frontier hope to expand the lore and story of the game though some of this “historical sites”.

Community Goals at Jacques will be coming, but will run for a month, to allow CMDRs to make the trip.

Q: System security around start systems?
Would like to increase system security.

Q: What did Frontier think was justified criticism of Engineers?
Material collection was too hard initially. Made mistakes with balance. Weapon effects were supposed to be super-rare. But FD changed tack when they became a role meta. Healer. Tank etc. so make the “exchange rep for desired effect” mechanic.

Q: Ship kits for more ships? More ship kits are coming.

Q: 2.2 A.I. Crew? Multi-crew is purely multiplayer. No AI Crew in the pipelines.

Q: Building based on planets? It's coming, but not this season.

Q: Group management tools? Changing over time. Nothing to announce right now.

Q: Why are all the stations the same? "GamesCon"

Q: Cross platform play with Xbox? Not currently possible.

Q: Planet tourism. Tour buses? Probably.

Q: Jump gates / faster way to get to Jacques station? Michael Brookes said “Like modded FSD drives you mean? Never say “never”, but Jump Gates unlikely.”

Q: Beluga liner? "Wait and see"

Q: AI wing men "escorts"? Can't say anything right now..

Q: Ship naming? "desirable feature" did not elaborate.

Q: Vive rendering any fix? One fix has already been issued, but the problem requires re-engineering - no ETA.

Q: Why no Landing lights when gear deployed? "Good idea"

Q: Decals? More soon.

Q: How is placement of objects and events decided? It depends on context, there are no hard rules. There is no FD Community Goal dartboard!

Q: Where is Formadine rift? Can't help you.

Q: Any plans for group ID in game? E.g. Clan tags.  Michael Brookes said he would prefer to utilise in game minor faction as an ID. Sandro "would like this" but said there are some technical hurdles to overcome. Not straightforward.

Q: If my faction loses all rep, will it be removed from the game? No faction can be kicked from their home system.

Q: The Galaxy map for VR is hard to use. Any changes in the pipeline? "Being looked at"

Q: Slaves. If they "go off" can they be sold as meat or fertiliser? Sandro asked “don’t we vet these questions?” but the answer was “probably not!”

Q: Where are the race of felines from early elite? They are not in ED, so you can decide what happened to them!

Q: Rise of the alliance? Maybe soon-ish.

Q: Could CMDRs with little time drop autonomous materials collectors, then come back for them – say a week - later? Doable but not planned.

Q: Could we have player created ships? New ships are great, but player created ships are not going to be a thing.

Q: Large ships at outposts / supersize ships too large for stations. Can we have them? Outposts don't support large ships for gameplay reasons. FD could do it. If there was a reason.

Q: When can we summon ships? Nothing to announce now. {GamesCon again maybe?}