Elite Dangerous picks back up this year with a third season, Beyond, and PC/Mac players will soon be able to test out its first chunk of content. Frontier Developments is holding an open beta on January 25 for Beyond - Chapter One before its full launch on PC, PS4, and Xbox One in Q1 2018.
Here's a summary of what's coming up:
New Ship: Chieftain
Elite Dangerous Horizons Commanders will also be able to take to the stars in the new Alliance Chieftain, designed not only to dish out punishment, but to avoid it. Manufactured by Lakon Spaceways, the Chieftain is more maneuverable than ships of similar size and weight, and its combat profile means it can more than hold its own in a fight.
Improved Core Mechanics
Chapter 1 of Beyond will bring improvements to some of Elite Dangerous' core mechanics, including accessibility enhancements to the engineering mechanics, an overhaul of mission rewards and big changes to Crime and Punishment. We’ll be sharing more information on the changes to Crime and Punishment, and the Engineers in a future post here on the forums and in the livestreams mentioned above.
Chapter 1 of Beyond will give you the chance to take on wing missions with your fellow Commanders, sharing both the efforts and rewards.
Revised Trade Data
Commanders will now be able to access trade data from systems they have previously visited, in order to make more informed decisions when shipping goods across the Milky Way.
Planetary Visual Improvements
Chapter 1 also includes the first of the planetary visual improvements coming as part of the Beyond series of updates (with more surface level improvements coming later in the year) bringing a new vibrancy to the Elite Dangerous galaxy.
With the introduction of GalNet Audio, you will be able to catch up on the latest news from across the galaxy without ever leaving the action.
This stuff will be free. That said, some of the upcoming improvements are only accessible to Elite Dangerous: Horizons owners. As Frontier puts it, "those without Horizons will still get access to the changes that affect the base game (such as the modifications to Crime and Punishment)."
"Throughout 2018 we're bringing four Beyond updates to Elite Dangerous Commanders which focus on adding new content, uncovering and progressing the mysteries of the galaxy and enhancing existing core gameplay experiences," says Frontier. Beyond - Chapter One will be "followed by two smaller content updates through the year and our largest update coming in Q4."
I continue to like the idea of this game but haven't taken the plunge.