Gamescom – Elite Dangerous Wrap Up

Elite-Dangerous-Horizons-Update-Planetary-Landings-SRV-Settlements-Update-ExpansionPreviously, we took a look at some of Frontier Development’s plans for their popular space sim, Elite Dangerous, and today we’ll continue checking out the announcements from Gamescom 2016.

While Passenger Contracts and Fighter Deployment were undoubtedly the stars of the FD’s showing, update 2.2, Guardians, is also bringing with it a number of changes aimed at making the game a bit less tedious.

A New Look For Starports

After the next large update lands on live servers, players will notice that Starports, the game’s hub areas which are located across the galaxy, have received a fairly large facelift. Aesthetically, Starports will now reflect their local area’s population size and market types. Meaning, an upper-class Starport will look like the modern, cosmopolitan area it claims to represent. Likewise, more agrarian locales will be rife will hydroponic bays, gardens, and other such installations you’d expect to find in such a place.

So far, there are four different types of Starport variants which have been shown: Agriculture, Refinery, Tech, and Tourism. While these updates don’t exactly offer much in the way of mechanical changes, they do provide a welcomed bit of immersion to the game’s galactic scale.

Coupled with these aesthetic changes are a few new features and quality of life updates which will impact your Starport experience.

First, the overall menu navigation for Starport Services has been redesigned to give players less of a headache. In a game where you can easily spend half your time flipping through different game menus, having developers pay extra care to those menus can make a world of difference.

Secondly, players will now be able to access the SIN Broker. Remember that bounty you forgot to turn in before blasting off halfway around the galaxy? Now, instead of traveling all the way back to the original system you picked it up in, you can access a SIN Broker in low security systems. This broker will give you the ability to claim bounties, hand in combat bonds, and pay off fines – regardless of what system you’re needing to deal with. However, using the SIN Broker does incur fees, such as a percentage increase on fines and a decrease on bounty and combat claims. Still, being able to easily deal with forgotten tasks without traveling across the galaxy is a welcomed addition.

Lastly, you’ll finally be able to transfer ships from Starport to Starport via a Starport Services option. The cost for these transfers will be dependent on the ship’s cost and the distance you need it transferred. There is no travel time, so you won’t have to wait around for your delivery, which, depending on your tolerance for immersion breaking mechanics, may or may not suit your tastes. Regardless, it’s about time the feature made its way into the game.

The Final Frontier

All the Starport changes are well and good, but what about the bulk of time you spend gallivanting around the vastness of space?

One nice new feature is the updated Planetary Maps coming in update 2.2. In Guardians, when you zoom into a planet, the grid view is gone, and in its place is a 3D representation of the planet’s surface details – think Star Trek’s viewscreen zooming all the way down onto a planet. From this new view, you’ll be able to see the planet’s geography, picking and choosing your landing spots with much greater care.

Another change you’ll notice is in the actual travel to new systems. Not only does it look better, but it will also come with some new information displays. Hyperspace in 2.2 has been updated with better visuals, including a gradually growing star to signify your approach. When you initially pick a new system to visit, your ship’s computer will give you a brief bit of information about the system you’re viewing. This information can tell you the security level and relevant state, allowing you to cancel your jump countdown if you decide not to go.

While you’re actually out and about in the depths of space, you’ll also notice that Neutron stars and White Dwarfs now correctly give off massive amounts of visible radiation – making your sightseeing a bit prettier to behold. If the updated aesthetics in space don’t excite you, you’ll also find a new set of structures in your travels – Installations. These Installations can be any number of things from simple comm arrays to intergalactic prisons. Frontier Developments also promises that each Installation will have traffic to and from the area appropriate to the Installation type.

The previously discussed features in this post, and the previous post, are only a handful of the big changes coming with Guardians. From new geographical features to puzzles for players to solve during their travels, Frontier Developments is sure to reveal even more as the launch of update 2.2 looms closer. While we don’t have an exact date for the update’s arrival, you can expect to see it go live sometime in mid-October. Since the update is part of the Horizon’s season of content, it will be free for those who purchase the Horizon’s season pass.

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