The drums of war haven't started beating in Elite Dangerous, but the drummers are here


Is Elite Dangerous headed to war? Last week, players of Elite Dangerous were stunned when alien ships began showing up in the galaxy. Some pilots cruising in secluded sectors of space found their ships temporarily disabled while ominous alien ships scanned them before shooting into the void. It was a surprise to most fans because Frontier’s space sim MMO has featured only humans, with rare evidence of a long-gone alien presence. Longtime fans of the Elite games assumed the alien artifacts belonged to the Thargoids from previous games in the series, but up until last week’s encounters, the remnants were harmless Easter Eggs.

Aliens in a previously human-only galaxy would be scary enough by themselves, but the [latest update]( for Elite Dangerous features a rather distressing (or exciting) increase in the galaxy’s military power. Some trading ships have had their hull strength doubled. Attack craft have been given additional component slots. The Viper, the ubiquitous fighting ship, now has increased maneuverability. Although aliens aren’t mentioned in the patch notes, it seems obvious that humanity is gearing up for something.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


I can’t handle all this MMO stuff. It’s such a turnoff, like seeing how the animatronics work behind the walls.


Fascinating. Up to now my exploration trips have been effectively risk free , I wonder how much this will change that? I imagine I will be a little ticked off if I get killed by a thargoid 10000 ly out…


I remember a couple of years ago there were some guys that were going to try and map out the galaxy…are they still doing that? Also, is that AAA service still going? the one that will dispatch to your location when you run out of fuel.


The Fuel Rats, yes. I read they just had their 20,000th rescue or some impressive number.


Yeah the fuel rats are awesome. Not sure about the cartography project. I do know that after the first 3000 ly or so out around 80% of my stars I visit are the first ever scanned so there is still a LOT of stars out there to discover :)


MMO stuff as in the ongoing updates/development, or are you referring to something else specific about the addition of aliens?


Beyond the benefits of “discovery rewards”, is there any future functionality for these systems? I don’t believe you can build bases or anything right that, right? and I don’t believe they are inhabited with stations and such? Or am I wrong?


You can find stuff on the surface like elements and some lost shuttles etc.
No base building or such at present.

Happily they are not inhabited for sure. Thats part of the strength of Elite, almost all of the galaxy is this lifeless unexplored vastness. For me thats just an amazingly positive thing, if you want to explore to meet people / lots of intelligent aliens then yeah, skip Elite. Its not that kind fiction at all.

My HOPE is that they start figuring out how to make different terrain types landable, right now water worlds , ammonia worlds etc are all not landable. It would be awesome to be able to land on them, let alone earthlikes :)


If I had the ability to build my own ground and orbital/star bases - it would be awesome in an infinite world setting. A cross of this with something like Space Engineers would be incredible.


It seems possible. The way they do ground ports and spacestations would seem to indicate that player created ones would nto be too crazy.


Yeah, what are you on about Mister @TimJames? The idea of aliens all of a sudden showing up in some game universe without much explanation or even confirmation sounds like just about the coolest gaming thing I can imagine in this genre.


This makes me think about something I think Tom talked about on one of the gaming podcasts, like what if you’re playing a game and it just turned into a totally different game that you didn’t see coming? Like Space Pirates and Zombies if, you know, they hadn’t kind of announced it in the title. I haven’t played a lot of Elite, but I’m thinking I need to get back into it.


Well, there’s no real point trying to explain why something seems awkward to me personally. But I think it’s the blurring of the lines between story and metagame with the updates to the ship stats to coincide with the story.

I don’t know. The whole thing just sounds like Dralth’a’gar showing up to destroy the World of Warcraft in expansion pack 17. Gaming as a service feels too corporate sometimes. It’s similar to the subtle annoyance of how instanced encounters make the universe seem less real.

I also mentioned that “flipping a switch to enable aliens” makes the previous searching for alien life seem kind of pointless since the bits weren’t there at the time. Unless they’ve been there for quite a while, which would be cool.

If I actually fired up the game and got into it again then maybe I’d feel different. Suspension of disbelief is a tricky thing. This isn’t helping though.


Yeah, that was my impression: that they had been there for a long time, but the developers never said anything.

The stuff you’re saying makes sense in that I can see where you’re coming from. But what if no one had flipped the switch? The developers had no idea that there were aliens in the game? But they just showed up anyway? What would you think of that?

In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what happened and anyone who says otherwise is fake news.


I didn’t get the impression the stat adjustments had anything to do with the aliens, that was just Telefrog’s take on it. It was just a long overdue balance pass that the game needed (several ships and weapons were awful and offered nothing interesting).

Aliens weren’t in the initial release, although Frontier has always said they’ll get implemented eventually (the previous Elite games had them). Their showing up completely unannounced I thought was really cool. They didn’t release a trailer or have an expansion announced about them, players out in deep space just got abducted by them very unexpectedly.


There was some twitter discussion recently thanking certain people for keeping it quiet, apparently they’ve been there for quite a while and nobody had found them for ages. No time-scale given though.


I don’t know what “quite a while” means but the event is scripted and the way to encounter the aliens didn’t work before the previous patch. If you want to see the alien ship event, you collect an Unknown Artefact and warp between stations. Eventually, the alien encounter script will pop.


It’s almost certainly not going to turn it into a totally different game (not this season anyway). Most likely, they’ll mainly be another interdiction threat, and will feed into the narrative, what there is of one, with some new(ish) mission types. After all, E:D is basically a slightly fancier Elite, and Elite had the same aliens (as did the later Elites, to a lesser extent). Which is also why it’s not exactly accurate to say you didn’t see it coming. Every Elite fan has been predicting and hoping for Thargoids since long before the game’s release. And there were many more concrete hints seeded in the game leading up to the first contact.

Moreover, that’s just not how Frontier operate. They increment, very slowly.


Nonsense! It only took them 2 years to finally do a much-needed balance pass on the various weapons in the game! :)