With a short trailer, Frontier announced beta testing for the final chapter of the current season. The chapter will be lacking some of the features previously promised, but Frontier is confident the amount of content will give us enough to chew on…

There are no big surprises in the announcement trailer which shows brief footage of new space anomalies in form of lightning and some special localized dust/cloud effects (which just may be an updated nebula visual), followed by new mechanics that are coming to mining and scanning.

Some UI overhauls will also be a part of the patch, mostly to do with squadrons and player management which are very much welcomed and will certainly add a lot to the social aspect of the game.

The beta for Chapter Four will be available to all PC Elite Dangerous and Elite Dangerous: Horizons players on Tuesday 30 October!

In order to focus the public testing on specific aspects of Chapter Four, Frontier will be unlocking different content over a number of different weeks.

  • Week one – Visual improvements, Exploration changes, BGS changes, New scenarios
  • Week two – Mining changes, Squadrons
  • Week three – New ships
  • Week four – End of beta

Beta milestones are expected to go live on the Tuesday of each week.

Exploration

The Analysis Mode with the improved Exploration Discovery Scanner and Detailed Discovery Scanner, is a game-changing, brand new way for all Commanders to explore the Milky Way galaxy. After the initial scan of the system, you will then be able to tune your scanners to find stellar bodies and other phenomena. Unidentified Signal Sources and conflict zones will also appear as dotted lines within this mode, allowing you to easily track down interesting or important things within the system. Not only is this new system a more realistic, satisfying and engaging exploration experience, but now you will be able to make more informed decisions on where to look next, and you will be more rewarded for your time spent exploring. Commanders will now have probes at their disposal to map the planetary surfaces, and planetary rings, in detail, to locate points of interest and leave your mark on the galaxy in a different way.

All of the above, in addition to the new in-game codex where Commanders will see a new way of recording their findings in both a collaborative and individual way, are just a few things coming with the changes to exploration. To find out more about exploration make sure to tune in to the livestream on 18 October.

Mining

Asteroid belts and planetary rings are about to get very busy. New tools and mechanics will provide a fresh, exciting and lucrative mining experience for all Elite Dangerous Commanders. Using new exploration mechanics, miners can investigate rings to locate the best spots to start their mining sessions, and then the best specific asteroids to probe and excavate for rewards. With the right amount of skill and expertise, the new Abrasion blaster, Sub-surface displacement missile, and Seismic charge launcher, will provide some exciting and explosive results. Want to go deeper with these features and learn more about mining? Tune in to the livestream on 1 November, to find out more.

Squadrons

Squadrons is a new in-game way of uniting like-minded Commanders to support factions of their choice, take part in Community Goals together and compete for top spots in seasonal leader boards. New communication tools, including in-game chat channels, will help you blaze trails together, and leave your Squadron's mark on the galaxy.

Learn more about Squadrons in our livestream on 30 October.

...and more!

There's a number of other huge changes coming to Elite Dangerous, including visual improvements, background simulation updates, and (yet to be revealed) cockpit interface changes!

Prior to the introduction of the content on the beta, Frontier will be hosting a number of deep-dive livestreams with developer guests, where they showcase the content and you have the chance to voice your questions and comments.

The Chapter Four content reveal livestreams will be on the following dates:

  • Exploration, Codex and Visual Improvements – 18 October (19:00 BST)
  • BGS and Scenario Interactions – 25 October (19:00 BST)
  • Squadrons – 30 October (19:00 GMT)
  • Mining – 01 November (19:00 GMT)
  • The Ships – 8 November (19:00 GMT)