Elite: Dangerous Blog

News and events from the Elite Dangerous galaxy

2.4 "The Return"

The Thargoids are coming!

Frontier have announced that the next update to Elite: Dangerous will be released in Q3 of 2017 and will be titled "The Return".

This new update will be bringing the Thargoid race back to the Elite universe with a vengeance! They will require new weapons and new tactics to survive and exploration to discover their origins as well as research to discover their weaknesses and study their technology. The human race is not prepared…

The teaser trailer Ed Lewis showed us on the E3 LiveStream this evening showed an Elite: Dangerous logo being overflown by a number of octahedral alien craft and then being slowly corroded by a green glowing crystalline fungus. All very atmospheric and creepy!

It's wabbit human season

Ed topped off his stream by globally broadcasting to all players of the game that the Thargoids are back!

"This is an urgent message from Commander Edward Lewis. There are forces out there who do not want you to know the truth, but I have to make this public. I found a ship in HIP 17044. A Federal Capital ship, shot to pieces. They were carrying the data the Feds stole from Professor Palin. The crew is dead, but they discovered something important about the Unknown Ships. There is a beacon in the wreckage broadcasting a message, over and over. It proves what we suspected. They are back. And the whole galaxy needs to know. The Thargoids have returned."

To find the wreck site and beacon...

Travel to HIP 17044 and fly to the second planet (around 1,800 ls) then set a heading for the Asterope system, some 52Ly away but continue in super-cruise for a further 10,700ls until you see the unregistered comms beacon and distress call.

When you drop into normal space, you will see the wreck site. There are a destroyed fleet of Federal ships, some on fire and a green mist in the space around them. Spooky..

"Why the damage doesn't look too bad from out here!"

Mega Ship Locations

UPDATE: 21st June - twenty down, three to go!

I have now visited all the known generation ships and all but three of the documented mega-ships. I hope to visit these in the coming week or two (since a couple are a fair way into deep space). If you hear of any I've missed, please post the details in the comments.

Also, CMD Sektion has created a list of transcripts for all the discovered Generation Ships datalink logs, so if you don't want to fly there but still want to hear the generation ship's stories, view the uplink logs here. I'd recommend visiting the ships though, as seeing the huge derelict ships with the voices of long dead ghosts coming from the audio logs are something no transcript or screenshot can convey.

Rusty boat

After nearly five months of not being able to play the game, I managed to dust off my exploration ship, The Ozymandias, and headed out into the black to see the Mega-Ships that were added to the game since I last played.

Jumping onto the Oculus rift with my newly returned-under-warranty GTX 1080 after so long was a "holy crap" moment.

My exploration vessel has a a ship launched fighter and that is the best way by far to get "up close and personal" with the mega-ships!

I am planning to visit these ships and document their location here. If you know of any I haven't visited, please post their locations so I can update the list! Because the mega ships are located up to 12,000 light years away from the heart of the bubble, some will take a while to get to, so the article will expand over the coming week or so. I'm hoping to get a Dolphin Blueprint underway too if I get time.

I would like to say thanks to the guys of Dead Men Walking who have been very supportive in the last few months offering hardware support as well as moral support. Thanks.

Mega Ships

The mega-ships come in nine types; Tanker, Cargo, Asteroid Miner, Flight Operations, Prison Ship, Science Vessel, Passenger, Dredger and Generation Ship and those that have been found (so far) are all over populated space and out into deep space. So far nobody has seen a Dredger....

Generation Ship Atlas

System: Charick Drift
Ship type: Bulk cruiser
Dockable: No
Location: 3.4Ls from main star. There are five ship log uplink nodes, which you can scan with a datalink scanner from 200m away. These reveal audio logs titled "no brakes" which tell of the crew's fate.
Distance from Sol: 28.6 ly

Naphtha Class Tanker

System: Okinura
Ship type: Tanker
Dockable: Yes
Location: 318Ls from main star
Distance from Sol: 32.5 ly

Hercules Class Bulk Cargo

System: Oduduro
Ship type: Cargo
Dockable: Yes
Location: 854Ls from main star
Distance from Sol: 40.11 ly

Alcatraz Class Prison

System: Milscothach
Ship type: Prison
Dockable: No
Location: 1,385Ls from main star in orbit around Milscothach 1A
Distance from Sol: 42.68 ly

Generation Ship Lycaon

System: Alaunus
Ship type: Bulk cruiser
Dockable: No
Location: Fly from main star to Alaunus 10, then set destination to the Horae system, but stay in supercruise in Alaunus and fly a further 22,000Ls away from Alaunus 10 until you see the generation ship POI on your contacts. There are five ship log uplink nodes, which you can scan with a datalink scanner from 200m away. These reveal audio logs titled "contagion" which tell of the crew's fate.
Distance from Sol: 52.62 ly

Generation Ship Thetis

System: Nefertem
Ship type: Bulk cruiser
Dockable: No
Location: fly 1,934Ls from main star to Nefertem 6A. There are five ship log uplink nodes, which you can scan with a datalink scanner from 200m away. These reveal audio logs titled "madness and ghosts" which tell of the crew's fate.
Distance from Sol: 53.46 ly

Lowell Class Science Vessel

System: Wolf 485A
Ship type: Science vessel
Dockable: No
Location: 9.67Ls from main star
Distance from Sol: 58.75 ly

The Midas

System: Zeus
Ship type: Flight operations
Dockable: Yes
Location: 7.89Ls from main star in orbit around Zeus 1.
Distance from Sol: 62.53 ly

Generation Ship Venusian

System: Kitae
Ship type: Bulk cruiser
Dockable: No
Location: Fly from main star with destination to the Zephyrus system, staying in supercruise in the Kitae system and fly a further 2,500Ls until you see the generation ship POI on your contacts. There are four ship log uplink nodes, which you can scan with a datalink scanner from 200m away. These reveal audio logs titled "boarding party" which tell of the crew's fate.
Distance from Sol: 63.12 ly

Fisher's Rest

System: Aldebaran
Ship type: Flight operations 
Dockable: Yes
Location: 2,513Ls from main star
Distance from Sol: 66.65 ly

Aquarius Class Tanker

System: Maya
Ship type: Tanker
Dockable: No
Location: the tanker is in orbit around Maya 5 an earth-like world with an ice ring, 530Ls from the main star.
Distance from Sol: 72.57 ly

Collinson Class Asteroid Ship

System: Gateway
Ship type: Asteroid miner
Dockable: No
Location: 299Ls from main star
Distance from Sol: 78.62 ly

Bowman Class Science Vessel

System: Asgaa
Ship type: Bulk Cruiser
Dockable: No
Location: 11.9Ls from main star
Distance from Sol: 90.05 ly

Bellmarsh Class Prison

System: Pohnpet
Ship type: Prison
Dockable: No
Location: 242Ls from main star orbiting Pohnpet 2A
Distance from Sol: 92.04 ly

Riker Class Prison Ship

System: Imiutli
Ship type: Prison
Dockable: No
Location: 1.72Ls from main star
Distance from Sol: 95.71 ly

The Harmony

System: Yum Kamcabi
Ship type: Flight operations
Dockable: Yes
Location: 1,235Ls from main star
Distance from Sol: 104.99 ly

Generation Ship Hyperion

System: Lalande 2966
Ship type: Bulk cruiser
Dockable: No
Location: fly 2,300Ls from main star to Lalande 2966 4, then set course toward the Yemaki system and fly a further 7,300Ls until you see the generation ship POI on your contacts. There are five ship log uplink nodes, which you can scan with a datalink scanner from 200m away. These reveal audio logs titled "the promised land" which tell of the crew's fate.
Distance from Sol: 121.53 ly

Generation Ship Odysseus

System: Ross 859
Ship type: Bulk cruiser
Dockable: No
Location: Fly from main star to the secondary star which is 52,000Ls away, when you reach the secondary star target Ross 859 B 1, you should then see the generation ship POI on your contacts. There are five ship log uplink nodes, which you can scan with a datalink scanner from 200m away. These reveal audio logs titled "our new eden" which tell of the crew's fate.
Distance from Sol: 165.98 ly

Generation Ship Pleione

System: Hez Ur
Ship type: Bulk cruiser
Dockable: No
Location: Fly from main star to the fifth planet in the system, when you reach Hez Ur 5 target the Teuten star system for a heading and fly a further 8,403Ls in super-cruise and you should then see the generation ship POI on your contacts. There are four ship log uplink nodes, which you can scan with a datalink scanner from 200m away. These reveal audio logs titled "the chromosome incident" which tell of the crew's fate.
Distance from Sol: 174.01 ly

The Gnosis (pronounced "no sis")

System: Varati
Ship type: Flight operations
Dockable: Yes
Location: 822Ls from main star.
Distance from Sol: 213.21 ly


System: HIP 22460
Ship type: Unknown
Dockable: Unknown
Location: [Permit locked system]
Distance from Sol: 362.01 ly


Sagan Class Tourist Ship

System: IC 1805 Sector AV-O C6-6
Ship type: Passenger
Dockable: No
Location: find out when I get there...
Distance from Sol: 6,194.64 ly



System: Syreadiae JX-F C0
Ship type: Cargo
Dockable: No
Location: find out when I get there...
Distance from Sol: 12,082.88 ly


Community Elite Dangerous Trailer

This amazing new trailer for Elite shows off both the game (post 2.3) and the amazing new camera.

The trailer was created by the (clearly talented) CMDR Siledas using entirely in-game footage from his own game.

Hats off to you commander! Job well done.

What's in a name (plate) ?

UPDATED 11:36am

There is another BETA related controversy brewing. In the March 21st LiveStream, Frontier mentioned that the nameplates for ship hulls would be a purchased item.

What’s it all about?

In the next major release of Elite: Dangerous, a new feature will be ship naming. You will be able (in station outfitting) be able to set a name for each of your ships, which will appear on your HUD. You can also set a ship registry ID, which is your station traffic control call-sign. This name will also appear on other CMDRs HUDs when they scan your ship. This name will only appear on other players HUDs if you pay for a nameplate! The controversy is that most players assumed (right or wrong) that the ship name would appear on the outer hull of the ship by default, at no charge.

On yesterday’s LiveStream, Frontier instead said that the exterior nameplate would cost extra!

Now does that mean space credits or real-world wonga? It would appear to be the latter and that has got more than a few commanders hot under the visor!

CMDR Zeeman: I'm normally happy to support the FD store, but I'll be boycotting this, sadly.


CMDR BongoBaggins: Other CMDRs cannot see the name of your ship on their scanner unless you've bought a nameplate. That's not cosmetic DLC, its locking game features behind a paywall. It's opportunistic, mean-spirited and churlish, and I won't be naming my ships.

Back in the Design Discussion Forum (where ideas were spit-balled during the design phase of Elite) the agreed details on ship names were:

Ship Naming

  • A ship can be given a name by a commander
  • A ship name can only be registered at a reputable space dock
  • There is a fee to register the name
  • Names are not unique
  • Although ships have unique registration numbers that can be shown
  • Ship names can be changed using the same procedure
  • By default a profanity filter is applied to all ship names (separate from chat filters) “starring” swear words out

The impression at that time was that the naming would cost credits in-game, but now Frontier have said it will be a cosmetic DLC purchase from the Frontier Store.

The most common reaction is disbelief:

CMDR Oryana: I wouldn't mind just a free basic name plate with generic font and no bells and whistles. I'd then probably pay for cooler fonts, or other colors or symbols next to it. The fact that I have to pay to essentially stencil on some letters on my ship is a joke.

Well respected streamer and member of the Elite community Obsidian Ant had this question:

If I buy a paint job for my Asp, I can use it on all my Asps. If I buy a name plate for my Asp, can I use it on all my Asp's? And if not, what happens to the nameplate when I sell that specific Asp?

Personally, I feel that a basic nameplate should be free and that more elaborate stencils should come with a charge, much as each ship has a free basic paint-job and further cosmetic customisation is paid DLC. As for not showing your ship name on other players HUDs unless you've bought a name-plate, well if that is correct, then it's an exceedingly poor and short-sighted decision.

Frontier have not responded on the thread. Frontier responded today at 11:03 (around an hour after I published this article!)

Edward Lewis posted this statement
Hi everyone,

There’s been a number of questions from Commanders regarding ship naming and how ship name plates will work so we wanted to give you a little more information about how these features will work when they’re released.

In-game ship naming

When you have named your ship in-game, your ship name will appear in multicrew grouping and in your HUD. In addition to this, in beta 5, when other people scan you, or target you in space they will be able to see your ship name in their UI. This feature will be available for all players of Elite Dangerous (both base game and Horizons players) including Xbox One, upcoming PS4 release and PC Commanders.

Cosmetic Ship Name Plates

The ship name plates will offer an added layer of cosmetic personalisation for Commanders wanting to wear their name with pride, much like paint jobs and other cosmetics currently available in the store.

Name plates will be made available in themed packs. These packs will contain three designs, each of which will be available in three colours: black, white, and grey. This makes a total of 9 nameplates per pack. After purchase, each pack will be available for use across all of your ships (Ship launched fighters and SRVs don’t have name plates) and each pack of 9 variant plates will be coming into store at just £2/€2.5/$3. This means that purchasing one pack of name plates will allow you to use that style across all of your current and future ships, at the same time and rename each individual ship as many times as you like. We believe this flexibility offers Commanders great value and is a great way to help support the continued development of Elite Dangerous.


So what do you think? Is this a micro-transaction too far? Or have Frontier made the right call?

EDIT: In light of the updated information provided by Ed, I would say that while the lack of a free basic name-plate is a shame, the low cost point for having name-plates across all ships answers most of the complaints. That and the clarification that the ships names WILL be visible to other players on their HUDs.

I just played 2.3 BETA and my head is spinning

No really.

Holo-me seems like one of the most comprehensive avatar creators I've ever seen on a PC game.

I also appreciated the fact while designing my new "look" I was sat in a new chair on the Anaconda bridge, giving me totally new perspectives on the cabin layout.

I will have to try out a few different ships!

The Oculus makes the experience, shall we say somewhat novel, as I can look around my "head".

I haven't quite captured my pure "Mr Potato Head" look, but it's pretty good for a first try.

Sorry for the lack of posts

I know there hasn't been much activity on my blog of late. This is due to some personal issues.

The site isn't dead. It's just resting. It'll be fine in a moment.

I hope to be posting again by the time the 2.3 BETA ships.

Thanks to all.

Ship Backbone - Jump range

Looking at the ship backbone by jump range, it becomes obvious which ships are the "explorers".

In the chart I am comparing stock maximum jump range (without any engineering).

Comparing jump range

The thing that stands out here is that there are three gaps of almost three light years in range between the top-end ships; a gap between the herd and the basic explorers, then a gap between the basic and top-end explorers and then another huge gap to the king of jump range, the Anaconda!

Personally I think those gaps need filling, probably with Passenger ships and medium traders..

The Ship Backbone

Frontier have often referenced something they call the "Ship Backbone" a mythical construct where the ships from the game are placed. This backbone is supposed to have a complete and reasonably well distributed range of ships from least to best in all the various categories. But what does this backbone look like? Are there gaps? Does the game have a slight hunch?

I thought I would lay out the backbone to see. By rating the ships on various scales (max speed, best FSD range, max armour, max cargo) I would see the backbone visualised.

So here is the backbone of ships (2.2) by maximum speed (not boost and without any engineering).

Comparing max speed

What we see with max speed is a number of gaps and clusters. The max boost speed chart changes the layout a lot, with the Cobra Mk 3 jumping to top place. Interesting that the Clipper and Orca are the fastest of the large vessels.

Comparing max speed

In my next post, I'll look at jump range and cargo capacity.

Bringing back extinct ships

Being a fan (and Patron) of Chris Jarvis' amazing radio drama "Escape Velocity", I thought I would have a go at drawing a blueprint of some ships from Elite's earlier incarnations that have not made it into the latest game. Ships like the Krait, Moray Starboat, Osprey and from Frontier 2 and featured in the series, the Merlin fighter.

The thing is, the Merlin was very simplistic and there hasn't been much in the way of updated screen shots of late.

 The first thing I need to do is draw some basic elevations. A rough and ready update on the design.

From there, get started on a 3D model. Here we go.

Put the wings on more to match original ship configuration and added thrusters and heat vents. Drives and hardpoints next.



I have now completed both the model and the blueprint.

Where would the Merlin fit into Elite: Dangerous? Well, it would be a comparable ship to the Imperial Courier. Probably an Alliance ship. Not massive cargo space, but a good turn of speed and low radar image. A good light trader/fighter with excellent range and agility. The perfect smuggling ship.

What the PlayStation 4 Trailer let slip

Yesterday's trailer for the PlayStation 4 version of Elite: Dangerous was very cinematic, but hidden away in the folds of the advertising are gems of information on the next major Elite release.


Now the first scene here, show a CMDR standing behind the pilot's chair. The ship looks to be a Cobra. While the scene looks more CG than game rendered, it depicts a pilot moving around the ship. Is this poetic licence, or a hint of what's to come in season 3? Walking around our ships and stations maybe?  Personally it might just be fluff for the trailer - a bit of scene setting. BUT... it could be an element of multi-crew. Instead of a fade-to-black screen when moving between each other's ships and chairs, we might see our avatar walk to the cockpit and sit down.

Asteroid bases

Since the Kickstarter in 2012, we've been tantalised with concept art of asteroid space stations. Either pirate bases or mining bases, built into larger asteroids. These have been high on players request list and the image at 18 seconds clearly shows "Boweens Hollow" an asteroid base. Awesome sauce!

More furniture in the room

At 49 seconds, the trailer shows a new space structure, similar to the civilian outposts we've seen added since 2.1. Not earth shattering, but nice to see more life in the galaxy.

It's not a station, but damn it's big!

With a drive section as large as Jacques stations, the ship depicted at 50 seconds is too "primitive" to be a Capital ship and it sure doesn't look Thargoid. So what is it?

Well, for those unfamiliar with Elite lore, there were, hundreds of years ago in game-time, generational ships that launched into deep space from Sol without the benefit of FSD drives. These ships would take centuries to arrive at their destination, with the great grandchildren of the original crew at the helm. In the time between, human technology progressed and ships could fly such vast distances in minutes, so present-day ships have caught up with those early pioneers.

The ship shown here is almost certainly one of the fabled generational ships. Who's going to be the one to tell their crew they could take a modern ship and be back on Earth by tea-time?


Toward the end of the trailer we see a Cobra Mk III with a co-pilot. The real question here, is whether the person in the next seat is NPC crew or Human crew. We know 2.3 is multi-crew and we are going to have a commander avatar creator. Since the Cobra doesn't have a ship-launched-fighter, the other seat isn't occupied by the NPC drone pilot, so I'm fairly certain they are depicting human multi-crew.

Something fishy sneaked past at the end

Finally, in the last few seconds of the trailer, a little ship sneaks past (bottom left). It's not the Orca, even though it looks a lot like it. It's the Dolphin passenger craft. I would say that pretty much confirms the ship for version 2.3.