Elite Dangerous has made a name for itself as the simiest of space sims this side of Star Citizen. Last year the game’s developer, Frontier, announced the coming addition of carrier-class vessels to the game. Following the initial announcement, the addition was delayed until this year.
Last week the Elite Dangerous team revealed the final details of the new ships via their YouTube channel. The new ships will be available to buy near central political and manufacturing hubs special dry docks will be attached to some space stations. A carrier-class ship will cost 5 billion credits, an in-game only currency, plus sizable operating costs. For comparison, the starter ship in Elite Dangerous, the Sidewinder Mark 1, is 32,000 credits and the previous most expensive ship in the game, the Imperial Cutter was 202,000,000 credits.
Carrier-class vessel owners will be able to offer services, like refueling and repairs and charge fees similar to the way stations do in the game. Carriers will also be venues for the player to player trading which has not been possible in Elite Before. In previous announcements, the ships would be limited to squadrons of players but that concept was removed in favor of individual players controlling the big ships.
Mechanically the new class will have some unique qualities. The new carriers will be able to jump farther than smaller ships. Like most ships in Elite, carriers will be customizable, but the scale of the upgradeable pieces are much bigger than the bits added on to smaller ships. Carriers have sixteen landing pads of various sizes to accommodate the different ships already in the game. A carrier can carry 25 thousand units of cargo and only items in that cargo space that have been put up for sale can be purchased by visitors. At NPC trading hubs the game generates stock on the back end and player actions can adjust the price of goods but commerce at a carrier will be based only on what is virtually added or taken from the ship’s cargo bay. Finally, carrier owners will be able to manage their ship from the cockpit of their smaller ship.
Big ships are not new to the game, there have been very large cargo ships since the game launched in 2014. Even bigger fighting ships that can support a crew of players were added as part of the numerous updates to the game. The key difference to this new class of ships is the landing bays installed in the carriers. The bays allow players to essentially have a mobile base of operations for various activities like exploration or commerce. Their addition to the game will give players control over aspects of the game’s basic structure in a way they never have before if they can afford one that is.
Stephen Krusel, known as Sven Kroosl to some, has played video and tabletop games since 1987 and has written about the gaming industry since 2008. He has yet to be convinced that Final Fantasy Tactics is not the pinnacle of gaming.