Elite Dangerous: Horizons |OT| Just scratching the surface

Jul 26, 2007

Our second season, which gives all players access to Elite Dangerous, kicks off in December 2015 with the epic Planetary Landings expansion and that is just the start – it continues into 2016 with further major expansions dedicated to gameplay, community, and narrative, including:

Travel seamlessly from space to any point on the surface of accurately simulated planets and moons throughout Elite Dangerous' full-scale Milky Way galaxy, and drive new SRV ground vehicles. Each 1:1 scale world offers incredible vistas and countless gameplay opportunities.

Planetary Landings is an entirely new way to play Elite Dangerous, and is just the first in the Horizons season of expansions.
Check the official Elite Dangerous: Horizons site for more information!

  • Developer: Frontier Developments
  • Release Date: 12/15/2015
  • Platforms
    • Elite Dangerous is 32- and 64-bit and available for PC, Mac OSX, and Xbox One platforms
    • Horizons, however, is only available for 64-bit PCs currently; an Xbox One version is being worked on and is expected in 2016
  • Price: 60 USD/50 EUR/40 GBP
    Every copy of Horizons includes the full standalone Elite Dangerous game
  • Trailers
What if you already own a copy of Elite Dangerous, or otherwise aren't sure which options are available? Frontier has you covered:

While Elite Dangerous has always been well-optimized, Horizons brings an incredible amount of planetary detail to render. Development of the game is ongoing, so these specs may change over time.

From the Frontier Store site:

  • OS: Windows 7/8/10 64-bit
  • Processor: Quad Core CPU (4 x 2Ghz)
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 470 / ATI 7240HD (DirectX 11 functionality required)
  • Network Broadband Internet Connection
  • Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
  • OS: Windows 7/8/10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770K Quad Core CPU or better / AMD FX 4350 Quad Core CPU or better
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 770 / AMD Radeon R9 280X or better
  • Network Broadband Internet Connection
  • Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
There are no regional restrictions, although the game may not be localised into your language.
Horizons is the first expansion for Elite Dangerous! Sometimes referred to as Year 2 or Season 2, the main feature is the ability to land on non-atmospheric "airless" worlds. These are 1:1 worlds, created based on our knowledge of the galaxy, as well as simulated worlds, and they can be explored in their entirety.

From these worlds, you can discover settlements and points of interest (POI), ship wreckage to search, ore to mine, minerals to synthesize, or pirate bases to raid!

For details on what is included in Horizons, please check out this compilation thread. It is comprehensive and regularly updated.

Frontier has released a Horizons video series:
I'll cover four of the biggest features in 2.0: Planetary Landings, SRVs, Settlements, and Materials.

Worlds in Horizons can be Metallic, Rocky, Rocky Ice, or Ice. To keep these from feeling too empty, there are points of interest on the worlds, as well as beautiful, naturalistic terrain and planetary structures.

Points of interest include:
  • Mining/ore deposits and Materials
  • Crashed and derelict ships
  • Secret pirate bases
  • Settlements (including military bases, prison colonies, surface ports, etc.)
  • Distress beacons
The worlds, and indeed the entire Elite universe, is created and powered by Frontier's Stellar Forge. What is the Stellar Forge? From a Frontier newsletter:

In Elite: Dangerous, when we are generating a system procedurally, each planetary system is formed from first principles. Bodies are gradually aggregated over a very long simulated time from available matter, taking into account its chemical composition. Depending on the angular momentum, this might begin to form into a single central body, or into multiple co-orbiting bodies.

As the gases collapse together under the force of gravity, matter tends to orbit these bodies in protoplanetary discs, which in turn further coalesces into smaller bodies within those discs. Tidal forces, orbital resonances and gradual accretion of mass gradually change their orbits, causing collisions, collapse and close encounters – which in turn means bodies might capture each other or fling each other into new orbits or out of the system altogether.

At some point the stars in the system ignite one by one, and the resultant stellar winds gradually drive off the lighter non-gravitationally bound gases.

Over its lifetime (different for different systems) close and not so close encounters with other stellar systems may remove outer planets and capture others, and the outer halo of comets and other bodies may pass through the other system, not just causing destruction, but also depositing lighter elements and compounds (like ice/water) on the bodies in the inner system that may have been lost during the heat of their formative years, making water-based life there possible.

The above processes are all modelled from first principles for almost all of our 400 billion star systems by an Elite: Dangerous system called Stellar Forge.
The above was written before Elite Dangerous was released--the engine has been constantly evolving and now handles generation of the planetary terrain. This is not just a simple randomized heightmap--Stellar Forge is guided by scientific and geologic data. The movement of tectonic plates is simulated and informs the creation of the landmass, and the planet's chemical makeup also controls its color and geologic layers.

Not insignificant blindspot: horizontal displacement. Horizontal displacement (sharp cliffs, overhangs, etc.) is not currently utilized, but it has been said that it is something they plan to revisit.

A part of this simulation is gravity. Gravity while flying in Supercruise has always been a factor, but now it is more present than ever. If you are in a planet's orbit, loose cargo, debris, etc., can float (or crash, rather) down to the surface. Flying near the surface in ships not designed for non-spaceflight can be difficult, especially in high gravity worlds. Take care, commander!

When you land on the planet, you're going to need to be able to get around--enter the surface roving vehicle, or SRV. These vehicles (not a buggy don't ever call it a buggy it's not a buggy no no no) are designed for surface exploration and come with a number of supporting features:
  • Turret: Use your turret to fend off enemy skimmers or to break down rock for ore/materials
  • Thrusters: Thrusters help normalize your driving on the surface. With Flight Assist on, they automatically thrust to keep you on the planet in low gravity, and keep you from running aground in high gravity. Of course, you can also manually control them for sick stuntz
  • Ship Control: Dismiss or recall your ship at command. This is useful if you want your ship to remain in standby or to come pick you up after a long day of surface exploration
To carry an SRV on your ship, you must install the following internal systems:
  • Planetary Insertion Module
  • Planetary Vehicle Hangar
The first SRV available is the Scarab, a six-wheeled single-pilot vehicle with a top-mounted turret.

Similar to star stations/ports, settlements can offer a variety of services for your ship, as well as Bulletin Board missions.

Settlements are arranged in a way that reflect their purpose and economy. You will find variation between settlements, but take care, as many have robust defense mechanisms that can make short work of your ship or SRV. Some missions may even have you raid a base, which you can choose to approach as desired. Settlements can have power and drone control stations that can be destroyed...or you can go in guns blazing.

Remember: if you can't find an open landing pad, just land somewhere nearby!

New to the Elite series are materials. Materials are the building blocks of the Looting & Crafting system, coming with 2.1; however, even at launch/2.0, materials can be used for Synthesis.

Materials can be found from roving the surface and exploring POIs. Materials themselves are "discovered" as you find them and can then be used to synthesize certain components. These components have three tiers of quality:
  • Tier I: Synthesized resource does its job (more fuel, more ammo, etc.)
  • Tier II: Synthesized resource does its job + offers 50% bonus (shield capacity, jump range, etc.)
  • Tier III: Synthesized resource does its job + offers 100% bonus (shield capacity, jump range, etc.)
Naturally, the higher tiers require more and better materials. These bonuses can be significant--doubling your jump range can be crucial on an exploration trip where certain locations are just simply out of range or too far out of the way.

Elite: Dangerous is the latest installment of a long series of epic space games, starting with the release of Elite in 1984. Elite is widely considered the forefather of space simulation games today. This installment is an open world space trading, exploration and combat sim set in a 1:1 scale of the Milky Way galaxy with around 400 billion star systems where you can choose what you do, who you are and where your alliances stand. In a true pioneer fashion, you are given a spacecraft, a few credits and are left to your own devices. Become a trader, pirate, bounty-hunter, explorer, assassin or all of the above!

Elite: Dangerous started as a successful Kickstarter crowd funding campaign on January 4th, 2013. In two short years David Braben and his team have managed to create a space simulation game of incredible scope set in a full–scale recreation of the real Milky Way galaxy's 400 Billion star systems. Allowing you to explore the vast expanses of our Galaxy and pursue an array of activities within that space.

Set in an epic, full–scale recreation of the real Milky Way galaxy's 400 Billion star systems, each with multiple planets of many different types, moons, and countless trillions of asteroids in fields and planetary rings.

It is the most advanced virtual representation of our galaxy ever achieved, and has been created in unprecedented detail using advanced simulation algorithms based on ‘hard’ science.

Every star, planet and moon in Elite: Dangerous have real chemical compositions and movement; spinning, orbiting each other in astronomical ballet. Every star in the night sky and every known exoplanet – all are scientifically accurate and yours to behold and explore in Elite: Dangerous.

Astronomical events take place across the galaxy every moment, from solar flares to black holes. Rare phenomena and atypical stars exist out there to be discovered and recorded by enterprising pilots. This galaxy is yours.
These are the main games modes in Elite:
  • Solo: Play alone with AI/NPCs
  • Private: Play with friends or a group with AI/NPCs
  • Open: Play with other players and AI/NPCs
  • CQC: Play arena-based fighter combat
Elite Dangerous and Horizons require a connection to play, even in Solo mode, due to the persistent and shared nature of the universe. Sorry :(

Bear in mind that the universe is shared across all these modes (less so CQC, as it's not fully integrated into the main game yet). This means that you can influence factions, systems, Powers, etc. either alone or with other players.

GAF is particularly fond of Mobius Group, a dedicated PvE group. You can play online with a ton of other CMDRs who are dedicated to cooperating (no PvP).

Open Play brings its own set of risks and rewards. High population areas can be extremely dangerous, as pirates and other scum prey on new players. If you are aligned with a specific Power, you may be hostile, by default, to other players. Take care, CMDR!

Wings, added in the 1.2 Elite Dangerous update, let you group up with three other CMDRs and share rewards and experience. From the Wings page:

Experience unpredictable encounters with players from around the world in Elite Dangerous' vast massively multiplayer space. Fly alone or with friends in a connected galaxy where every pilot you face could become a trusted ally or your deadliest enemy.

The majority embrace the connected multi-player experience. Whether you experience the open multi-player galaxy on your own or in a Wing - where you can stay connected to a group of your buddies as you share in jointly-earned spoils – it delivers a constant, emerging source of new opportunities and people to play with and against.
Rewards, including bounties and exploration data, are shared across all members of the Wing, provided the Wing member contributed. For something like a bounty, this means that you shot the target at least once--the bounty is then split amongst you and other Wing members. While this may sound like it cuts the profit too much, consider that you can destroy ships much faster as a team!

With something like exploration, Wings are less practical, as exploration data is only shared if Wing members are in the same system as its scanned. This requires more coordination than is often possible; however, with Horizons, exploration of planets may make exploration Wings far more useful!

Added in the 1.3 Elite Dangerous update, Powerplay adds another layer to the background simulation metagame of the the Elite universe. From the Powerplay page:

Powerplay is an ongoing battle for interstellar conquest and control that touches and enhances every aspect of the Elite Dangerous experience. Ally yourself with a galactic Power, guide their strategy, earn valuable perks and bonuses, and dominate human-occupied space together. Every player’s choices and actions can impact the balance of galactic power.
Essentially, Powerplay is a metagame within the human-controlled space of Elite: Dangerous. You ally with a Power and then complete goals for each of them to increase your rank. Higher rank gives you better bonuses: weekly payout, access to Power-specific modules, and a greater ability to guide the direction of the power via Command Capital, which all allied players use to guide the growth and dominance of a power.

It's...complicated. First things first: check out this list of brief videos from FD:
Next, I highly recommend checking the sub-reddits for each Power. One thing the game is lacking is any way to coordinate and communicate with your Power in-game; Reddit, and online in general, are the only real options.
CQC, added in the 1.4 Elite Dangerous update, introduces arena-based ship combat to the Elite series. From the CQC page:

The Close Quarter Combat (CQC) Championships are the ultimate 34th century gladiatorial contest between Elite Dangerous pilots. CQC thrusts players into intense PVP action within the Elite Dangerous galaxy.

Equip your spacecraft with a unique loadout and compete in Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag gametypes in custom-built arenas, supporting up to twelve players at launch.
As you can see, this is fast-paced, quick action. Jump in, select a small fighter, and pick a mode to get started.

Because the ships are much smaller than your average ship in Elite, fights tend to be over far faster, but are also more hectic. Smaller ships are extremely maneuverable and can stop on a dime--use this to your advantage as you weave in an out of stations and asteroid fields!

While CQC is currently completely separate from Elite universe, you can still earn credits by progressing in the mode. In the future, CQC will be positioned as a career that can be pursued within the Elite universe.
Elite: Horizons is the first major gameplay expansion for Elite: Dangerous. The full season of Horizons encompasses five expansions, starting with 2.0 "Planetary Landings". Iterations for the rest of "Season 2" will be 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, and 2.5.

The following are some features and expansions that are coming in Year 2:
  • Confirmed for 2.1: Crafting & Looting: Use raw materials to create new and enhanced ship components
  • Multi-crew: Command your ship with up to four friends, each focused on a specific role
    • Max four crew per ship
    • Four roles: Helm (piloting), Fire Control (turrets/weapons), Countermeasures (shields, tactical), Engineering (sensors, navigation, repairs)
    • Balance focused to make it on-par with having a Wing of four ships
    • Uses Wing system
    • Can "hotswap" between roles (even solo players!) but Helm has ultimate control over assignments
    • Teammates can move to fighter craft and deploy from docking bay
    • Uses SRV-style "neural link" or UI interface (source)
  • Commander Creator: Create and customize your in-game avatar
  • New SRVs: New variations of SRVs are coming, with different purposes and equipment
  • More ships!
  • Volcanism: Volcanic activity, including ice volcanoes, is coming! Geysers may make an appearance, as well.
  • Weather Systems: Very rudimentary weather systems may come to Horizons (yes, this is separate/different from fully atmospheric worlds)
  • Thargoids: Thargoids are on the cusp of making contact--expect to meet them in Year 2!
  • Mission System Overhaul: The mission system is said to get a major reworking to make missions more desirable, challenging, and enjoyable
No one is certain what Year 3 and beyond will bring. This was shared on a recent (11/2015) community stream:

However, here are some of the features that Frontier has already discussed and has said is in the plan:

What are the expansions?
The expansions include significant new features such as seamless freeform (manual pitch/yaw/roll) atmospheric flight and landings and on-foot and out-of-ship activities (such as FPS combat, walking around and boarding ships, walking in stations and walking and driving vehicles on entire 1:1 scale populated living planets), multi-player crew and probably player executive controlled capital ships.

For example, the roadmap is to add these features over the following expansions (in no particular order): [8]
  • Landing / driving / prospecting on airless rocky planets, moons & asteroids (Elite Dangerous: Horizons)
  • Walking around interiors and combative boarding of other ships
  • Combat and other interactions with other players and AIs in the internal areas of star ports
  • Accessing richly detailed planetary surfaces
  • Availability of giant ‘executive control’ ships to players
In addition, check out this Top 10 Future Updates & Expansions vid for an overview of planned features and expansions.
Jul 26, 2007
Ready to jump in? Start here. One of the cornerstones of Elite: Dangerous is giving you the freedom to make your fortune or to fail miserably while attempting to do so. To this end, there are three general categories:
  • Combat
  • Trade
  • Exploration
Before we get started, I'd like to mention that ObsidianAnt, a fairly infamous Elite YouTuber (he has a station named after him by the community), has a great series of videos and tutorials. This hour-long tutorial covers a TON of information and is whole-heartedly recommended to all noobs:
Combat is something you'll often come back to in Elite, for two primary reasons:
  1. It is profitable
  2. It is easy to learn and hard to master
The combination of gameplay depth and reward make combat a core experience of Elite. Whether you're facing another CMDR or an AI pirate, combat is challenging, requires your attention, and feels rewarding.

Combat is lucrative primarily through bounties for Wanted criminals, but you can also make a decent rate in a busy conflict zone. You could also only dedicate yourself to combat missions from the Bulletin Board but they are usually, to be frank, low-paying and not worth the time and effort.

Bounty Hunter

The life of a bounty hunter requires that you find and destroy Wanted criminals with active bounties.
If you, or another should make a transgression against another pilot or be seen committing illegal actions, you will gain fee and possibly a bounty. Both players and NPCs (including NPC bounty hunters) are able to claim your bounty.

How do I find bounties?

The most basic strategy for finding Wanted criminals: stalk a Nav Beacon or, better yet, a Resource Extraction Site. The higher risk/intensity of the RES, the better, as they'll attract more criminals.

The only real way to know if a pilot has a bounty is to lock and scan the target. All you need to do for the basic scan is lock on to your target and be within a few KM of your target's proximity. Your scanner will then automatically detect whether the individual has an outstanding bounty. Speaking of...

Buy a Kill Warrant Scanner: A KWS is a device that occupies a utility hardpoint and is assigned to a Fire Group, just like a weapon. The KWS is like your ship's regular scan, except it does a bounty scan for other systems, not just the one that you're currently in. This can increase the reward so much that a KWS is required equipment for any bounty hunter. HOWEVER: keep in mind that the KWS will find bounties from other systems, but the target may not have a bounty in the current system. If you attack them in the system in which they're not Wanted, you will earn a fine and/or bounty yourself.


Murdering any other bounty-less ship will net you a bounty; however, if you're actually interested in a life of crime and piracy, you may be interested in stealing cargo more than killing any random trader.

To that end, you should buy a Cargo Scanner to scan cargo holds of other ships. Cargo Scanner is mounted on the utility mount of your ship and needs to be assigned to a fire group before you can use it, just like a weapon. If any of the cargo in a ship that's been scanned is stolen the owner of that ship will incur a bounty. This applies to players and NPCs alike.

Be warned: the target is always alerted when you initiate a cargo scan on their ship and may respond aggressively.

Trading is one of the more menial but lucrative careers in the game. The gist of it is quite simple:
  • Buy goods
  • Sell goods for profit
  • Stay alive and repeat

The key is finding a good, profitable route. Additionally, you can receive faction missions, community goals, or Power assignments related to trading. These not only earn you credits from training, but also from completion of the trade.

You'll have to determine what the best ship for your hauling needs are. But as a general rule to start make sure you:
  • Have a Fuel Scoop: This prevents frequent visits back to stations to refuel
  • Get a decent Cargo Hold: The larger the class Cargo Hold, the more cargo you can carry
  • Maintain your thrust:weight ratio: Lower weight=longer jumps.
At first it may be rough as a trader, but it becomes exponentially more lucrative as you gain access to larger ships.


The cargo haulers take is often minerals/ore and it has to come from somewhere. One of the optional vocations you can kit yourself out for is mining. Grab yourself a mining laser and get cutting.
( I arguably have the least experience with this particular route, so I will be editing this as I progress.)

While combat has proven to be Elite's bread and butter, exploration is at the core of the series. Each time you venture into space, you have a chance of discovering something unique. You can then sell this information to docks/space stations; the more detailed and interesting the information, the higher its value.

All vessels come with a basic discovery scanner fitted; however, there are 3 levels of Discovery Scanners:
  • Basic Discovery Scanner: Has a 500 Ls range
  • Intermediate Discovery Scanner: Has a 1000 Ls range
  • Advanced Discovery Scanner: Has a system-wide range

Here are some useful videos for the Elite explorer:

There are 30 ships and counting available in Elite Dangerous: Horizons! This list is incomplete--I'll add more as I get official info from FD.


The Eagle is a proven combat fighter with a distinguished history. It is one of the smallest fighters available with jump capability. It has the distinction of being the only ship that has been so successful versions have been built for both the Federation and Imperial navies. This role has been superseded by the respective navies' short range fighter programmes, but the Eagle still sees extensive service across human space. Core Dynamics are no longer building these ships, but do still provide parts and servicing due to their popularity.

The Vulture space superiority fighter sacrifices hard point flexibility for manoeuvrability. Advanced manufacturing techniques have allowed the Vulture to integrate large hardpoints into its relatively small frame, offsetting the ship's limited weapon count. The vulture excels in the role of heavy fighter in strike missions against larger, well defended targets, but its nimble flight characteristics make it equally devastating against smaller targets. A limited cargo and passenger capability has not stopped it becoming a preferred personal transport for those who like to project a certain attitude in their dealings.
Federal Dropship

The Federal Dropship is the Federation Navy's workhorse ship for tactical and special forces deployments. This is a well-armoured and well-armed ship capable of carrying large loads. Its versatile nature means that it is well-suited to tackling even the most hostile environment.
Federal Assault Ship

Many of Core Dynamics customers desired more specific roles for their dropships and the Assault Ship is a response to some of those demands. The Assault Ship is designed for a more combat intensive role than the original ship. It has improved manoeuvrability and weapon carrying capacity and placement. These additions come at the expensive of smaller internals making it less versatile, but better in its specialised role.
Federal Gunship

The Federal Gunship came from the desire for a more supporting role in operations utilising the standard Dropship frame. It's primary role is in fire support and is tougher and also supports higher rated modules making it more versatile.
Federal Corvette

The Federal Corvette is the smallest warship deployed by the Federation Navy. It is a quick, hard hitting vessel also capable of transporting cargo and personnel. Its versatility makes it the most common vessel of the Federation Navy that most people will encounter. It can be found everywhere, on long range patrol, peace keeping, pirate suppression, in fact anywhere the navy wishes to maintain a solid presence without deploying one of the Farragut class Battlecruisers. It is possible, but extremely rare for a private citizen to own one of these vessels. The ship can carry and deploy two small fighter class ships.

Most pilots start their careers in the Sidewinder. It is a classic ship design that has been in use (in various configurations) since 2982. Its original design was as a light support ship and it lacked jump capability. Modern compact drives have enabled jump-capable versions to be created, making this a useful all-rounder. Some navies still use these ships as fighters and patrol craft.
Viper Mk III

The Viper Mk III is the most recent development of the most successful fighter classes ever built. The original Viper Defence Craft was designed by Faulcon Manspace in 2762 in the Reorte shipyards. The basic model was beefed up with the Viper II by Faulcon deLacy. The new Viper III is a revitalised model with a new more armoured look. It is a top class fighter found in many well-equipped police and naval forces.
Viper Mk IV

Faulcon deLacy's Viper MkIV takes the MkIII model and beefs it up to a heavy fighter role. While it lacks the speed of the older ship, it enjoys much better protection from its shields and armour. With the capacity for a more capable powerplant and frame shift drive, the MkIV is also better suited for long-range patrols and rapid deployment. The powerplant upgrade potential supports greater customization for weapons and modules, making this a versatile fighter that would be and excellent addition to any navy or private-security concern.
Cobra Mk III

The Cobra Mk III is a classic all-purpose ship found throughout human space. The model was first built in Lave Cowell & MgRath shipyard in Lave in 3100. Despite its age, it remains a popular ship for lone pilots who value its balance of carrying capacity and ability in combat.
Cobra Mk IV

The Cobra MkIV is Faulcon deLacy's development of the famous Cobra MkIII. It's heavier and slower than the MkIII, but packs an extra punch and better weaponry placement makes it a more effective combat vessel. It's tougher to improve survivability and allows better upgrading, but at the expense of some of its agility.

Another classic design that has survived the centuries. The first vessel was constructed in 2700 by Whatt and Pritney Ship Constructions. With the demise of the company and after various mergers and takeovers the ship design is now owned by Faulcon deLacy. The ship remains the slow and sturdy craft it was originally famous for and some smaller navies still use this class as patrol cruisers (although tiny compared to the Imperial Interdictors and Federal Battle cruisers).

The Anaconda is the pride of Faulcon deLacy's shipyards. The design was first manufactured in 2856 by RimLiner Galactic. After numerous mergers the template was eventually owned by Faulcon deLacy, who have made only minor changes to the classic design. The Anaconda is a versatile craft that can transport large cargos as well as pack a decent punch. Some smaller navies use the Anaconda in the light cruiser and frigate roles. The Anaconda can also be upgraded with a docking bay allowing small fighters up to Sidewinder-size to be carried and launched.
Asp Explorer

The Asp Explorer is the civilian version of the military model Asp Mk II’s (which first saw service in 2878). Lakon Spaceways now owns the licence to construct these ships and has marketed them heavily at customers looking for their first multi-crewed ships. The ship class has earned a solid reputation for long-range missions and those requiring some discretion.
Asp Scout

Description to be added.
Diamondback Scout

The Diamondback Scout is Lakon Spaceway's specialist combat explorer vessel. Unlike its bigger brother the Asp, the Diamondback Scout isn't suited as an all rounder vessel. It is popular with elite recon and pathfinder units with navies throughout human space. Its relatively low cost also makes it a popular choice with independent pilots who appreciate its combat and exploration potential.
Diamondback Explorer

The Diamondback Explorer was Lakon Spaceways’ response to criticism of the original Diamondback ship class. By extending the ship’s frame it allowed greater cargo capacity and so greater mission variety and endurance. It also brought the ship more into line as a smaller brother to the successful Asp line although at a much more modest price range. The Explorer model can fulfil the same roles as its companion ship type, but also able to operate as a fast transport and resupply vessel useful for supporting deep space operations in a hostile environment.
Type-6 Transporter

Lakon Spaceways are famous for building dependable, jump-capable transport vessels. The Type 6 Transporter is their smallest commercially available model. It has limited combat capability, but is capable of transporting decent-size loads for its size class.

This is Lakon Spaceways new combat-trader class vessel, designed for hostile-environment deliveries and light support duties. It's based on the Type 6 frame but with extra weapon hardpoints. It has a reduced cargo capacity to support a higher class of powerplant, and can even accomodate a fighter bay. Its durability is improved by better defence capabilities for armour and shields. Its similiar shioluette to the Type 6 makes it a suitable vessel for commerce raiding or convoy support.
Type 7

The Type 7 Transporter is Lakon Spaceway’s mid range transport vessel. This is a new model, released in 3290. It’s slow but moves a lot of tonnage for its size.
Type-9 Heavy

The Type-9 Heavy is Lakon Spaceways large freighter class. This ship is built to transport large cargoes, a job it does very well, but it doesn’t stand up well in a fight.
Imperial Courier

The Imperial Courier is the quintessential Imperial ship. It epitomises elegance of form while packing a good punch. Officially the class is used to provide transport for officials that don’t warrant the use of a Cutter or Interdictor. However it’s flexibility means that it fills many roles within the Imperial Navy and prominent citizens.
Imperial Eagle

Description to be added.
Imperial Clipper

The Imperial Clipper is the quintessential Imperial ship. It epitomises elegance of form while delivering speed and agility. Because of its balance of Speed, Luxury and strength it is used for transporting valuable items and personnel of importance across the Empire.
Imperial Cutter

The Imperial Cutter fulfils a similar role as the Corvette for the Federal Navy. The design philosophy reflects Imperial sensibilities as it is faster and more elegant than the corvette, but doesn't quite match it in firepower. As with other Imperial warships the cutter is also used for projecting soft power, via diplomatic missions and support for friendly powers. It is possible, although rare, for a well connected client or patron to own one of these ships. Like the corvette it can deploy two small fighter class ships.

Saud Kruger are famed for their range of luxury passenger vessels. This is their top of the line vessel (although they do offer custom built vessels that are bigger) and is capable of carrying passengers in extreme comfort and elegance. For its size and class it’s also quite capable of defending itself.

The Adder is another classic design, this ship was tailored as a general utility vessel. The original model was first built in 2914 by Outworld Workshops and the type is now manufactured by Zorgon Peterson. Although lightly armed it has more cargo capacity than the Sidewinder and this ship can often be seen doing shuttle runs as well as light trading.

The Hauler is Zorgon Peterson's low-level entry in the freighter market and has been a big success. A large cargo capacity (for its size), cheap purchase price and low running costs have made these the most popular small cargo ships in human space.

The Fer-de-Lance is another classic design that has now been in production for two centuries. The ship became famous for its popularity with top business executives and wealthy bounty hunters, being a fast, well armed vessel, with luxurious accommodation and high quality components fitted as standard. Early models were built by Zorgon Peterson, but more recently, limited numbers have been upgraded by Saud Kruger in a rare collaboration, resulting in even more lavish creations, without spoiling the original design and specification requirements.
Jul 26, 2007
Outfitting is where you go to customize your ship! This is divided into three sections:
  • Hardpoints: External mounts on your ship, used for weapons and utilities
  • Internal: Internal systems that are controlled by modules, which control how your ship handles as well as other functions (cargo, fuel, etc.)
  • Livery: Skin and decal customization
We also like the Coriolis Shipyard, a browser tool that lets you play with different ship loadouts:
Each ship type has a number of different sized external hardpoints. Hardpoints can belong to one of two categories: weapons or utilities. A hardpoint has a size rating from small, medium, large, and huge; each increase in size is typically an increase in damage output, but often more power is required, which is why you don't often see larger hardpoints on smaller ships. The type and number of hardpoints is also usually related to its cost.
  • Small hardpoints allow weapons of Class 1 to be equipped.
  • Medium hardpoints allow weapons of Class 2 or 1 to be equipped.
  • Large hardpoints allow weapons of Class 3, 2 or 1 to be equipped.
  • Huge hardpoints allow weapons of Class 4, 3, 2 or 1 to be equipped.
The lower cost ships, like the Sidewinder or Viper, have 2 small hardpoints (Sidewinder) or 2 small and 2 medium hardpoints (Viper).
The mid cost ships, like the Vulture or Asp, have 2 large hardpoints (Vulture) or 4 small and 2 medium hardpoints (Asp).

Note that, while the Asp has three times as many weapons as the Vulture, the Vulture will eat it for lunch 9/10. Large hardpoints are common on the upper cost ships--the Vulture is designed to battle large ships but is incredibly nimble. However, it also has a very poor jump range, gas reserve, and, if not careful, power management. This severely limits its role to combat (and traveling can be very tedious). The Asp, however, is an excellent explorer, a decent trader, and a capable combat ship.

The upper cost ships, like the Anaconda or Corvette, are typically loaded with hardpoints. Their purposes are determined by their number of hardpoints and their cargo; to an extent, maneuverability matters, as well.

Weapons range from lasers, cannons, plasma accelerators, mines, and missiles; they can do kinetic (projectile) or thermal (laser) damage, with each doing more damage to the hull or shield, respectively.

Utility hardpoints, sometimes nicknamed "tiny hardpoints," are utilities for your ship! They are typically reserved for types of scanners or defensive systems (like caff).

Each hardpoint consumes a different amount of power and generate a different amount of heat. Energy weapons tend to generate heat in your ship, while firing kinetic projectiles helps you to dissipate heat.

Hardpoints featured on a Viper above. As you can see the hardpoint has a size, and then a number classification to the right. In this case, the Burst Laser is a Class 1, but the slot is also able to accommodate a higher Class 2, with the F indicating the rating of the system.

In addition to customizing your ships weapons, you can customize its internal systems, which affect how the ship performs, as well as some functional differences. Like hardpoints, each internal system has a rating and classification; however, internals have no size rating as each piece is unique to that ship model.
An example of an internal system. Higher rated systems will perform better of course, but some ratings have unique characteristics

Generally most modules (not weapons) come in five variants per class and those variants are rated from E to A. "E" is the lowest rated variant, but also the cheapest. "A" is the highest rated variant, but is much more expensive than the other variants (sometimes costing millions of more credits). The variant rated "D" often weighs less than the norm while the variant rated "B" often weighs much more than the norm.

Some equipment (the combat oriented equipment primarily) only come in one class (the scanners) or one variant (the defensive utilities).

Note the Viper is typically a combat ship, but this player has kitted his ship out to run cargo at the loss of other potentially more combat efficient systems.

Power management, which also encompasses system management, it is important that you properly set the priorities of your systems so that you have enough power for critical functions (like combat). Here is a great guide from CMDR Rathour:
I made a guide months ago here detailing very efficient ways to set up power priorities further than "combat on 1 everything else on 2". With the power plant changes this patch, now would be a good reminder for everyone that optimized power output is now essential.
Since the threshold for the power plant malfunction is now 50%, I'll be changing the guide a bit.

Priority 5: Normal flight non-essentials
This priority is reserved for things you cannot use in normal flight, or things you won't use normally. This includes Fuel Scoops, Interdictors and Cargo Hatches. If you need to enable your cargo hatch for any reason, either retract your hardpoints or, if that's not an option, disable a high-power item such as a power intensive weapon or a shield cell bank while instead having the Hatch on priority 4.

Priority 4 Combat non-essentials
This is generally reserved for things like scanners, FSD*, or collector limpets. For things like a KWS, Cargo scanner or Wake scanner that you're only going to be using once per fight (NPC pirate hunting is different, may as well have KWs on 3), you can usually disable a weapon or two before the fight to get your scan off. In the case of a wake scanner, since you won't be in combat (hopefully) while performing the scan, this goes doubly so.
Limpets differ depending on how you're using them. Miners should have these in 3 while pirates should have them here and disable a high-power item to make it function.
FSD should be here in-combat until your shields go down and you fear destruction. In that case, it should be move to priority 1.

Priority 3: Defensive countermeasures
These are on 3 because when they fail your plant is already being shot up by the time they go offline. This is reserved for things like Chaff, Heat Sinks, Shield Boosters, and Shield Cell Banks - Occasionally your Shield Generator can go here, but I would advise against it since a mess up in outfitting usually disables priority 3 (and therefore your shields in-station). Things like your smaller (or larger, depending on your preference) weapons could also go here in order to keep a line on 50% between priority 2 and 3.
The split: 50% power line

Priority 2: Combat essentials
Reserved for things you need in combat. Hardpoints, Power Distributor, and Shield Generator go here. Larger (or smaller) hardpoints should be split between 2 and 3, or you can easily have priority 2 taking over 50% of power on its own.
If you need to, in combat you can move your shield generator to priority 3 from priority 2. This allows much more power to 2 and 1 in the case of plant failure, especially since it's unlikely in a bigger ship that your shields will come back up before you either escape or be destroyed.

Priority 1: Everything is disabled oh god now what
This priority is reserved only for things that help you escape. This means thrusters and sensors only, usually. You might want one chaff launcher here as well. If you are in combat with shields down and you suspect your power plant is going to be shot out, put your FSD here - beforehand or during combat, it doesn't matter. You do not want your FSD disabled in the case of a malfunction, so unless you absolutely need it unpowered to run your set up, it should go here. If you're in combat and you suspect a malfunction, you need to move it from wherever it is to here and disable something you don't need - Like a SCB.
Any questions or concerns feel free to point out.
Elite: Dangerous doesn't follow a specific players story line, instead the game gives you a massive playground to explore as you see fit. However, just because there isn't a traditional story doesn't mean there isn't a setting for your adventure. The descendants of humanity have spread out amongst the galaxy, forming various factions and alliances that are in a constant struggle for power. Would you have a Space Opera setting any other way? Anyway, due to the shifting nature of the timeline and story from past Elite games I won't go into further detail, but according to Braben.

The Independent Alliance of Systems
Diversity and Unity

The Alliance Defense Force is strong and unified, made up of allied naval forces from independent systems. With powers to act swiftly without government approval over the years, there has been little disagreement between the leading Council of Admirals.

The Independent Alliance is culturally diverse, with the leadership changing annually around its member systems, which can struggle to agree on principles. But while they may be diverse in ideology and culture, the Alliance was formed from a number of independent systems with a unified goal: to gain strength in numbers and defend, where necessary, against the Federation and the Empire.
The Federation
Democracy and Wealth

The Federation appears, to outsiders, to be a Democratic society. In reality, corporate loyalty oils the machine and Federation space is a battleground of commerce. Commercial organizations compete as aggressively as the law will allow for the time and attention of the Federal citizen, who goes through life bombarded by advertising.

Corruption is considered as ‘getting one over the system’. Social class is determined between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. The gap between the poor and the wealthy widens. The huge GDP of the Federation economy funds a large, well–equipped Federal Navy which projects its values and influence.

Culturally the Federation is tolerant of religion but utterly intolerant of drug-taking, political activism, and certain cultures. A great many things are illegal, like slavery, cloning, and certain narcotics.
The Empire
Reputation and Honor

Originally founded by Marlin Duval, who led the colonization of the Achenar system in the mid 23rd century, the Empire is based on a ‘cliens’ system much like ancient Rome. Society is strictly stratified, with people being able to move between strata based on money, patronage and influence.

The Empire values both status and honour very highly. So, whilst it is acceptable to flaunt wealth, treating people well is a question of honour – and this includes slaves. Having an unpaid debt is seen as utterly dishonourable! An honourable Imperial citizen would sell themselves into slavery to clear a debt they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Law is seen and enforced very differently in the Empire. Senators are responsible for enforcing the Emperor’s laws, but the Senators themselves are above the law. They can order executions, and can even kill people themselves, though sometimes (rarely) they may be held to account for their actions by the Emperor.

In the Empire very little is illegal, but many things are frowned upon, like excessive use of narcotics.
Each faction has its own reputation, which upon reaching new levels will allow the acceptance of more lucrative missions and the purchase of faction exclusive ships.
Smaller factions and independent groups also have their own reputation, which may or may not be independent from major factions.

The following is a collection of useful resources for the Elite player!

Did you know that there is a NeoGAF faction in-game? Yup. We're a big deal. Check out our thread for all the info you need to find us!

Elite: Dangerous has support for a wide variety of gamepads, joysticks, and throttle setups known as HOTAS (Hands On Throttle and Stick) controllers.

Under $100

Xbox 360 Controller

This is a perfectly acceptable option--many players, including PC players, play with a game pad.
Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick
I've heard numerous good things about this; if you're only looking for a joystick, it's a great cheap choice. The small flipper on the base is a throttle.
Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick
The stick does in fact separate from the throttle. This is the best bang for buck low end setup.
ED Tracker
ED Tracker Pro is a great DIY or pre-built solution. The newest Pro version is £45 but you can get a DIY kit for £5.
FaceTrackNoIR is another head-tracking solution, but is free and tracks your face using your webcam.


Saitek X52 Flight Control System HOTAS
Saitek X52 Pro Flight System Controller HOTAS
Be aware this is pretty much identical to the standard X52 aside from the color and a few minor alterations

Saitek Pro Flight X-55 Rhino HOTAS

Elite Dangerous is touted as Made for VR and supports HTC Vive and Steam VR; Oculus is also supported, though I understand that FD is waiting on Oculus for specific updates. Here are FD's recommendations for VR-equipped computers:


OS: Windows 7/810 64-bit
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K Quad Core CPU or better / AMD FX 4350 Quad Core CPU or better
Video: Nvidia GTX 980 with 4GB or better
Network: Broadband Internet connection
HDD: 8GB available space
$400 and over

Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Joystick
While this is considered "the big daddy" to a lot of HOTAS users, keep in mind that it doesn't have a joystick twist axis for yaw, so you need pedals to control yaw.
CH Fighter Stick and Pro Throttle
A fantastic alternative (and gaffer-recommended) to the Warthog! Some gaffers prefer it over the Warthog, as well. The mini-analogue stick is fantastic for lateral thrust, which is crucial in many combat situations and great for general maneuverability. Like the Warthog, pedals are required if you want to control yaw (you do).
Finally, thanks to the following people for helping with this thread:
  • Gaffer Aztechnology for the original Elite Dangerous OT
  • Gaffers Jedi2016, MickeyKnox, Serrato, Mengy, RadioActiveLobster, and Burny for their Elite screens
  • Elite Dangerous Wiki for ship and misc info
  • The following Frontier forum users for their Elite screens: abstress, Tucker Dale, reloooops, Nexolex, Troa Barton, Retrograde, Roguey, hoppryngil, Xobel, Charred Felix, FARVA, Mardante, Cosmos, Simpleye, Ridka, Tinman, TheMiningMinor
  • The following reddit CMDRs for their Elite screens: Bell's Theorem, Hugh Mann, Djmixerdomo, FabeCraft, teddylott


wishes it were bannable to say mean things about Marvel
Jun 8, 2004
Great OT Anton!

Today is the day! Planet surface exploration will be my new addiction, can't frakkin wait to get home!

Hey, I see you used a pic of my Asp over an Earth Like World for one of the banners, SWEET!
Sep 2, 2007
Wow, Frontier is amazing seeing all that they are doing to Elite, and what they are planning with Planet Coaster.
They want to do a similar expansions thing for Planet Coaster, so im pretty excited to see how big they are in Elite.
Feb 27, 2014
It wont update on steam for a couple of days still, currently the servers are down for the update but once they come back online you can download horizons from Frontiers website.

Great OT Anton.
Ah ok, just to clarify, since I'm guessing at least one other person is going to run into this and wonder. I've got the new launcher downloading now and will probably be downloading a second client. Does this install count as a separate one and will have to download the patch again on my Steam version?

By the way for anyone who goes to the steam news about the game and finds the link to the new launcher don't bother. I just did that and when I logged into Frontier's website it pointed me to a completely different launcher that was 4 times the size so go for that instead. EDIT: after grabbing that one, it then told me to go back to the other one which Steam suggested despite the website pointing me to a different one. First one is the correct one but honestly it's a bit confusing.
Apr 11, 2012
Wait this is out? Why won't it update for me on Steam?
You can manually update the launcher in your steam directory. Just click the play button in Steam, and it will prompt you to download the new launcher. Select your steam directory for the install location, and just delete /EDLauncher from the file path to make the program install to the ED directory instead of creating a new folder. Steam now launches the most recent launcher.

I have no idea if this will work once they actually release Horizons, but it works so far.
Nov 15, 2005
After viewing this thread, I checked the ED launcher. I haven't played it in a while, so I was expecting to update. I noticed that it said Update "32-bit version". Are there two separate initial downloads for the 32/64 bit versions. I don't want to the 32-bit versions, and think I may have made a mistake if that's the case. Can anyone offer some clarification?
Jun 15, 2007
Amazing OT!!!

Can't wait to get home to finally land on some planets. This and the Smash Direct later today. This is a good day for gaming for me.

I dont really get that picture, i paid 120 EUR for premium beta, do i need to buy horizons or not ?

That sucks ;(
It says if you have the Premium Beta, Alpha Edition or the Expansion Pass you don't need to purchase it. You have access already.

If you have the standard Elite Dangerous, Standard Beta, or Mercenary Edition you have to buy the expansion. If you have the game already though you get a discount when purchasing it.

So you don't have to buy it if you have have the Premium Beta.
Aug 20, 2014
Chicago, IL
After viewing this thread, I checked the ED launcher. I haven't played it in a while, so I was expecting to update. I noticed that it said Update "32-bit version". Are there two separate initial downloads for the 32/64 bit versions. I don't want to the 32-bit versions, and think I may have made a mistake if that's the case. Can anyone offer some clarification?
You probably need to download the new launcher. Horizons is 64-bit only now.


Feb 18, 2011
Didn't that include the life time pass? I don't think you'll have to buy any season.
It says your set if you have the premium beta version of Elite Dangerous. You don't need to buy anything else.
The website says premium beta backers have access to horizons. In fact you have the season pass so will get all expansions included with it.
But what if it only counts for the 240 EUR first premium beta, as i got the 120 EUR one, so i have no idea lol.
Feb 27, 2014
But what if it only counts for the 240 EUR first premium beta, as i got the 120 EUR one, so i have no idea lol.
Well I bought in later than you at £50 for the beta and £35 for the pass. So I'd imagine your 120 EUR probably covers that. Just grab the launcher and see what happens when the servers come back up. I'm fairly certain you will have access to it.
Jul 26, 2007
Great OT Anton!

Today is the day! Planet surface exploration will be my new addiction, can't frakkin wait to get home!

Hey, I see you used a pic of my Asp over an Earth Like World for one of the banners, SWEET!
Thanks--and yup, used pics from every gaffer, I think. Gonna get the rest posted within the hour, and credits for images will be included.
Jun 15, 2007
But what if it only counts for the 240 EUR first premium beta, as i got the 120 EUR one, so i have no idea lol.
I would log into your account on Frontier's site, when it comes back up if the store is still down, and see what your past orders actually says. It should list the actual name of what you bought and that should clear everything up.

So wait. I already own ED. If I buy Horizons (which is 64-bit), that includes the original game as well? I can't purchase just the expansion pack?
The original game is bundled with Horizons since it pretty much builds on top of the base game. It's also cheaper for new players. They're the ones really getting the deal here. If you have ED already your purchase should be discounted though when you buy it. Not sure when that discount is suppose to stop though. I think it takes off 10 Euros/$11. So I ended up having to pay $44.99 in the end for it. The price really should be cheaper though. I don't think anyone can deny that.

If the option to buy the season pass ever comes up again I'm going to jump on it. It's going to make this a lot cheaper.


Feb 18, 2011
I would log into your account on Frontier's site, when it comes back up if the store is still down, and see what your past orders actually says. It should list the actual name of what you bought and that should clear everything up.
I did, it just says premium beta, and that is it, but, the launcher allows me to download Horizons, so all is good i guess ?
Jun 15, 2007
I did, it just says premium beta, and that is it, but, the launcher allows me to download Horizons, so all is good i guess ?
Should be good then. When you log into the launcher I assume the system knows what you have access to and will patch it accordingly.
Aug 25, 2014
+1 for the OT! Let's see if the servers will let me download the update this evening, unlike the beta, which had me four days waiting to be able to download at all.

Then it's on to grinding bounties, mining asteroids, complaining about the undercooked missions and lots of beautiful pretend-spaceship-flying. Can't wait. ^^
Apr 8, 2006
As someone who owns Elite: Dangerous and bought it a few weeks ago I am still not sure what loyalty discount I am supposed to be getting. That chart didn't really help. It mentions preorders but I didn't preorder.

Does the loyalty discount only apply if you preordered Horizons?
Jul 26, 2007
As someone who owns Elite: Dangerous and bought it a few weeks ago I am still not sure what loyalty discount I am supposed to be getting. That chart didn't really help. It mentions preorders but I didn't preorder.

Does the loyalty discount only apply if you preordered Horizons?
I think so? It may have ended today, not sure.
Jun 15, 2007
Apr 8, 2006
I think so? It may have ended today, not sure.
Then at this point that chart would be out of date. There is no loyalty discount if you didn't preorder.

Would love some confirmation.


From their site -

For a limited time all existing Elite Dangerous players will receive a $15 loyalty discount plus the exclusive Cobra Mark IV ship when ordering the Elite Dangerous: Horizons through the Frontier Store. Discount will be automatically applied at checkout. Those who take advantage of this offer will be able to purchase the Cobra MkIV in-game when Elite Dangerous: Horizons lands.
So it looks like I will get a $15 loyalty discount but it only works if you buy it through the Frontier Site. Seems like a limited time thing.