Frontier has released a beta build for Elite: Dangerous‘ first major content patch.
Update 1.1 adds a number of new features to the game. The headline addition is Community Goals, designed to encourage players to group together in order to work towards a common objective. These could be trading a certain number of particular goods, or killing a specific amount of players or NPCs. At the moment, given the size of the playable galaxy (less than 0.1% has been charted so far), it’s often rare to come across other players. Community Goals will have an impact on the evolving politics and stability of a region too, allowing players to have a more tangible impact on how the universe and the power balance of its various factions changes over time – one of the key selling points of the game, with the weekly newsletter containing an update on the ongoing lore of the series.
Other new additions include a new “Discovered by” tag on charted systems, a way for players to have their achievements recognized for all to see – a move which will no doubt be welcomed by players who prefer to explore the universe, instead of engaging in combat and bounties. And route planning has been extended to 1,000 light years, meaning you can now plot your course a lot further through space (just be sure you have enough fuel to make the trip, otherwise you’ll end up adrift in the endless void).
And then there’s a long, long list of fixes, enhancements and balance changes that you’d expect. Gas Giants now enjoy a “fancy” new shader, cloud layers on planets now utilize a parallax effect to add a bit of realism to their appearance, and Russian language options have been added alongside an improved French and German translation. You can read the full list of changes over on the game’s official forum. It’s way too big to reproduce here in full. Seriously, it would be longer than most of our reviews and features.
Given that patch is still in beta, you’ll need to download it separately from the main game. The final release date hasn’t yet been determined; presumably, Frontier is still ironing out the kinks and awaiting feedback on the patch from players before rolling it out in the main game.
Brian Kale is currently working on his review of Elite: Dangerous, which we hope to have with you soon. It’s rare that a game comes along with the sheer scale of Frontier’s update to the classic series, so we’re making sure we get a good feel for everything it has to offer.