Elite Dangerous: Horizons Announced, and There Was Much Handwringing


So as rumored/expected/hoped/wished for, a new expansion called Elite Dangerous: Horizons (I always though the colon was after Elite, but whatever) has been announced, and it allows planetary landings. This is GREAT news for fans of the game…or…is it? See, interestingly, if you already own the game, while you get a discount on it, they’re kind of asking you to buy a game you already own, only with some new stuff (like the aforementioned planetary landings). Here is the language that makes this so confusing:

Elite Dangerous: Horizons includes all Elite Dangerous content to date, and all players will continue to fly together in the same galaxy.

So while current owners of the game get something of a discount, new owners get the base game and expansion for cheaper than veteran players when purchasing the expandalone or whatever you want to call it. It’s an odd move, to be sure. I mean I get that this expansion requires quite a bit of development resources, and that those resources will need additional funding. Hell, I fully intend to pay full price for this expandalone thing my own self.

I can, however, see why people are less than thrilled with this pricing scheme. I can also see folks being wary of the use of “season.” Apparently the base game was the first “season” of the game, and this upcoming expansion is the next one. Hell, this upcoming season doesn’t even allow landing on all planets, just “airless, rocky worlds”. I can therefore understand why folks might be upset at not being able to land on any planet.

However, here’s how I’m looking at it. The folks at Frontier, for as hard as they try, aren’t the beeeeeeeeest at communicating. I mean, when their Kickstarter came out, I freaking hated it. Poorly presented, worded and lacking in information, it was a fairly poor campaign, but they eventually won me around. I’m kinda hoping this is the case here, and with further explanation (and maybe a revision of their pricing), more people will be on board.

As for me, I’m completely and utterly on board. Hell, I’m considering getting the lifetime pass, which is kinda crazy, but I love this game. So overall, personally, I’m thrilled that this expandalone thing is coming out, and can’t wait to dive in. What do you think?

Author: Brian Rubin

13 thoughts on “Elite Dangerous: Horizons Announced, and There Was Much Handwringing

  1. Wow.. $195 for the lifetime expansion pass. Guess I am glad I was a sucker and got it before release for $50.00.

    Yeah I would be pissed if I paid $40 – $60 for the game and now have to pay $44.99 for Horizons.

    Almost as if they want to train me to not buy each expansion and wait awhile and get the latest game w/ everything included a heck of a lot cheaper than if I bought them all individually.

  2. Hmm. Horizons is good news, but I still think there’s some polish that needs to happen on the basic game. Passenger transport gameplay, for one, is a major original (Elite 2 is my definition of original) feature that is not yet present, and only requires some ship components and another subsection of the mission system (which itself has been seeing a lot of work; you’d think they’d continue enhancing that since the team’s been in that code a lot). Also, Thargoids, though their main tactic of ripping people out of witchspace and leaving them pyrrhicly victorious in deep interstellar space with no fuel to re-jump would probably cause howling mobs in this day and age. The fuel situation is much easier these days, I suppose.

    For a third thing, I’m actually a tad annoyed that Powerplay pulled the focus so fully away from the system factions. I was perfectly happy playing the system faction “game” and would have liked to see that enhanced some more. There are still bugs and inconsistencies with how factional wars and takeovers affect the game. For instance, my “home base” was a federation system, but the pro-Fed faction lost a civil war, and the system is now controlled by an independent faction. The economy changed, the black market went away, and I can’t cash in Fed bounties there anymore, which was all great in terms of environment repercussions, but the GalMap still lists the system as being Federal, which is baloney (and would piss me off if I were trying to find a place to cash in a Fed bounty). There is only one station in the system, controlled by that independent faction, so the system is as independent as one gets.

    That’s about my only criticism of the product, though; I will be happy to sign up for the lifetime pass for sure, and I originally dropped US$75 for the beta pass a year ago. I will play this game until it dies, which I hope will be a long time from now.

    1. Yeah, more needs to be done to the base game, FOR SURE, but I’m glad work is being done in both the base game and the expansion.

  3. Still somewhat undecided on jumping into another space based mmo. I have nearly recovered from EVE but I, once again, feel the forces pulling at my heart strings. With the announcement of this expansion, I think my resistance will fail entirely.

      1. My initial reaction was, what an odd thing to say, Brian, but on reflection, I think I see where you’re coming from. IF you choose not to get involved in any sort of guild, Elite certainly can be immensely enjoyed, largely as a single player game.

        In fact, One of the first things I did after general release in December 2014 was to hie myself off several jumps away from the system where I (and hundreds of other noobs) first started. Not to avoid the noobs, mind you; to avoid the kind of scum that likes to prey on those noobs. That effectively committed me to a single-player experience, because in Elite, space is Realistically Big. I really only see other players when I choose to go places where they are likely to be.

        1. Oh, and duh, you can always play Solo. I play Open Play all the time, so I forget Solo is even there. I actually -like- the experience of running across another wanderer from time to time.

          1. It also doesn’t have levels or skill trees it quest givers with exclamation marks over their heads, for example. Even Jumpgate had levels. ;)

            1. Heh. Jumpgate’s levels were easily the stupidest “feature” of the game, seeing as flight skill as well as combat capability were all in the hands of the player, and the levels offered nothing aside from unlocks. I had actually designed a licensure system that would require in-game actions to unlock access to various ships and equipment, with the intent of scrapping the pointless level tree, but hadn’t started implementing it by the time the California owners liquidated the studio.

  4. Did they ever increase the player count per instanced area? I thought the story back on release was thousands could be online on the same server, but each instance only allowed a max of 32 player, so aside from AI the most you would ever seen was 31 other human player ships, opposed to the massive counts in true MMO like EVE.

  5. While an expansion sounds cool, and I’ll probably buy it, I was someone that preordered ED, played for a few weeks when it shipped, but quickly got discouraged because many of the systems in place now like wings and powerplay weren’t there.

    That said I’m going to air a few criticisms, some of which might get me some flak by elite purists., but I’ll preface that by saying even with criticisms it’s still one of the most amazing space games.

    So yes there is some amazing code here, this is a very polished game, and I am happy to support ongoing development, and I have to give Frontier credit for releasing Elite as complete as it was, still it becomes obviously very quickly there’s still a lot of play-ability polish that I think needs to be added in before they even think of charging anyone another dollar.

    -Why no Autopilot?
    Yes I get there’s an aim for authenticity, and there’s something to be said of skill based games, the first time you manage to sync your roll with the massive tumbling Coriolis station and touch down on the pad is awesome. the 476th time it’s just old. I tend to like to trade in games I fight as well, but I like to find margins in commodities and exploit them. Why does Elite have to punish me by allowing me to buy a computer that can land my ship, but it can’t take off, line up jumps, super cruise me to the station. I enjoy trading because it allows me to catch up on shows, read articles etc, I’m a bit of a multi-tasker, one of my favorite games was X3, and one of the components I enjoyed was commanding my ship to not only fly to a system but to dock with a particular station, all with zero intervention on my part. It’s not that I don’t enjoy getting in something like a Cobra or an ASP and hitting up a conflict zone, I just sometimes want the lighter option. even for the elite purists, I’m not asking them to force autopilot on those that don’t want it, the same way SCOTUS wasn’t forcing buttsex on those that didn’t want it, I just want the option, even if it means giving up an internal slot.

    -Navigation needs an overhaul
    If I want to plot a route to a particular station 80ly where I regularly trade a commoditiy, I have to look to my left, open the galaxy map, PASTE the name of the system in from notepad++ , go to the system, then wait for the system map to load, lock in my station. Then if I’m really lucky there’s not a planet in my way when I undock so I won’t have to supercruise to another target just to get clear of the obstacle blocking my jump, then repeat the whole process to lock the distant station in, then if I decide to be really bold and bring along a discovery scanner to make a few extra $$$ along the way, well everytime I target an unexplored object and scan it, well guess what I get the privilege of repeating the whole nav computer dance once again, and for as many times as I target anything that’s not another ship. Not to mention if I want to see how much further, once again I have to look away to see a trip summary that makes AS400 Consoles look elegant.

    -Why no bookmarks
    As I said previously I have to keep a name of systems in a third party notepad and copy/ paste them in, If I want to revisit a system.
    There have been numerous feature requests on the forums to simply add an additional tab to the galaxy map for bookmarks, You can’t even argue this is a balance issue, who plays this game that would be upset by the ability to have a short list of systems / stations that you could lock back in as your destination. basically as is the game just requires you to repetitively complete the same UI action for no real reason.

    -UI is not intuitive, and unimpressive for the year 3000
    I see very few people complain about the UI and the menus, but I think it’s because everyone uses them so frequently they know the tricks, but this isn’t a plus for the game in the long run, I have a friend that basically gave up on elite because of UI issues, and it was only through some coaching he renewed his interest. I can get through the menus quickly too, but really this is like when you own a shitty old car, and you learn to anticipate it’s shortcomings, so only you can drive it. Then there’s simple things like why couldn’t some of the nav info be on the front HUD, would be pretty easy to just show current system, destination and number of jumps remaining, what about maybe a cargo indicator. Even if you don’t want these things all they’d have to do is make these optional things that could be turned off in the menu.

    I guess some of my frustration really comes from Elite being a really great game, but the vision of what it is seems a bit rigid at times and it’s clear there’s an intent on how David Braben / Co want the game to be played and if that’s not your thing too bad. Also some of these creative choices don’t make a lick of sense considering this is 1000 years in the future, sorry my 1000 yr old phone has better navigation than my ASP. 400 billion systems yet the universe still feels dead most of the time, which actually is probably more scientifically accurate. Perhaps the expansions may work to flesh out the universe a bit more, but to me it still seems that more fixing was due on the original investments people paid for, before the game was ready for PAID expansions.

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