We're already deep into the current season called „Beyond“ and the community started raising many questions about the upcoming changes and premium content Frontier has already mentioned…

It is very well known that the most anticipated patch of the current season is the one scheduled for the end of the year which will bring squadrons and major overhauls to exploration and mining, however – we are still left in the dark about any upcoming features beyond Beyond.

Frontier has also mentioned premium content for this year back when they announced Beyond which we also still haven’t heard much of. This is especially important because many Commanders have been active ever since the Kickstarter, and they also cashed out a hefty sum of money for a life-time pass on the game, so this mention of new premium content would be the first thing they would get as a part of their life-time pass since Horizons. The very slow pace of development also doesn’t help.

However, from a recent interview with David Braben – we do know now that (apparently) the game is in the best state as it ever was with a healthy number of active people and newcomers pouring in from both Steam and their own store. In his interview with PC Gamer he says:

The plan was – beyond the [current] season for Elite, which is mostly announced – there are a lot of things that we will be announcing that are really exciting, some of which will be free, some of which will be paid.

Now, apart from a confirmation of what we already knew – nothing much but speculation is on the table. Of course, the new stuff is “exciting” as everything before but it still leaves a bitter-sweet taste knowing we’re still left in the dark. If the payed content is coming with the current season – what can it be that is not part of the announced patches? Ship skins and kits? Well… yea – those keep coming each Friday basically, and personally – if I was a backer that got a free skin for my life-time pass, I would be far from satisfied.

Or could it be an actual story chapter? We know Frontier teamed up with HCS voicepacs which had a campaign story at some point that magically got removed somewhere prior to their work with frontier. This alone would make sense since it would basically be a replayable PvE scenario that would in no way mess with people that don’t own that DLC, and it could provide a great way of extra income to Frontier as well as fill the massive void that is Elite’s story.

New info on chapter IV

Unlike the previous feedback forum posts that basically popped up prior to the patch, Frontier has a lot of time to listen to the community and discuss all the possible outcomes of whatever they have planned for the final chapter of the Beyond series. So… what’s the new info?

Frontier Q&A

  • Squadrons will exist to support existing gameplay. Basically this will be Elite’s version of a guild, or a corporation that will let the owner/admin of the squadron manage members in a more detailed and advanced way with the various social and group management tools that will be provided.
  • Although players will be able to play in Solo mode while in a squadron – their whole purpose is aimed at supporting group play. That said – it is not currently planned to have chat support across modes, but Frontier is looking into it.
  • Squadron names will be permanent and it will not be possible to change it after creation. There will also be a way of reserving and validating specific squadron names to prevent trolling and loss of names for groups that have a significant impact on the galaxy. So no – you will not be able to just log in and create a “Fuel rats” squadron.
  • Deletion is considered an edge-case (for example the squadron leader deletes his/her account), but there will be tools available that will enable leaders to stand down (or leave) with nominating other players for the leading position.
  • The initial member cap proposal was 250 members – but raising the cap is currently being discussed. Increasing the cap is currently a technical issue.
  • The initial plan is to enable joining only a single squadron.
  • Fleet carriers will require a minimum number of squadron members before purchase. The exact number is currently unknown
  • Squadron alliances were not planned but are considered as an option
  • Squadron creation will require a fee – the amount is currently unknown, however Frontier doesn’t want to set it too low (to prevent squadron spam), nor too high for it to feel like a paygate.
  • Squadron leaders will have no financial benefits from their members (nothing like EVE’s tax system)
  • Accessing the squadron info/creation screen will be available from within your ship
  • Squadron chat will be text only, and will not work chross-platform (PC/XBOX/PS)
  • Chat is not persistent – swapping modes will erase your history
  • Squadrons will not bring any new gameplay features (no squadron missions, no changes to the way how instancing is working, matchmaking will consider squadron members, no changes to wings…)
  • Squadrons might link to factions or powers (nothing confirmed)
  • Squadrons will enable member ranks – currently only 3 are known (leader, officers, pilots)
  • It will be possible to assign different permissions to different officers
  • There will be no customization options for squadrons
  • There will be customization options for fleet carriers
  • Fleet carriers will be huge squadron owned ship, similar in size as the current megaships
  • Fleet carriers will be able to make hyperspace jumps at any time, however - it will require various resources
  • Players that are not members of a squadron (or a specific one) will still be able to jump into an instance where a fleet carrier is currently positioned, but will not be able to dock with it
  • Fleet carriers will have various upgrades which will be visually noticeable upon visiting the location of the carrier

Now after going through all the new info one thing sticks out quite a lot – and that is the fact that, once again – Frontier will not give us any new mechanics or gameplay. So yes – we will finally be able to chat with our friends ingame, but only in a form of a temporary chat. Most, if not all, player groups already own various Discord servers that keep track of all their conversations. Fleet carriers will obviously be a major focus for every squadron but if the upgrades turn out to be as “creative” as the current community goals and end up requiring tons of random materials for the upgrade or a simple jump… The whole thing might just end up getting old really fast.

We still don’t know what’s the point or a benefit of owning a fleet carrier. We do know there will be no squadron missions so apart from having your own megaship that you can dock at (which is basically like all the other stations around the universe) – what will be that final goal people will rush for and build their carriers?

Unfortunately – as with most other things when it comes to Elite, we will just have to wait and see…