Elite Dangerous unveils Fleet Carriers

For a little background, back in the mid-eighties, I played a ton of Elite on my trusty Amstrad CPC home computer. And I mean a ton. I still have my original copy of the game sat proudly on my shelf.

Back in 2014, I backed the beta of Elite Dangerous immediately. I’ve always had a soft spot for creative visionary David Braben since interviewing him ahead of the Frontier: Elite II launch in the 90s, by which time I was already working in this industry.

Elite Dangerous blew me away in 2014 with its vision and scope. I spent a fortune on it. Flight stick, big comfy commander’s style chair. I even fitted a Buttkicker style bass transducer into it so when I hit hyperspace the whole thing rattled my skeleton to the core.

Then I discovered VR. I splurged on an Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 just for Elite Dangerous. It was a dev kit so the whole thing was a little clunky but it worked and it was a gamechanger again.

Then the Rift finally came out and upped the levels again. Elite Dangerous was where I spent my nights in virtual reality. It is still, quite simply the most incredible VR experience I have personally had.

Strangely, over the last year or so I haven’t been back to the game. After hundreds and hundreds of hours in the cockpit, I didn’t play it one night, and I’ve never been back, and I really couldn’t tell you why.

I still follow the news, and the expansion updates but nothing has quite drawn me back, even the Thargoid invasion.

Then this week’s news of the much-anticipated Fleet Carriers arrivals has definitely piqued my interest. Finally, Elite’s galaxy is getting something massive.

The opportunity to own a carrier, effectively your own mini space station with its own economy you take a cut of will, for some, be a game-changer.

I say for some because you need five billion credits in-game to buy one. Now while plenty of players have amassed that through various grinding and exploiting techniques, I am not one of them. Not by a long shot.

I’ve never played the game to reach the so-called endgame where I have the best ships and the best gear, being content to potter round in my mid-range ship doing what I want, but I will admit to being a bit envious that this latest update will be out of my range.

It’s still going to be cool though.

Fleet Carriers are due to launch in July with the beta available next week, but there may be a virus-related delay as Frontier’s staff are all exiled currently at home.

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Been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision. Spent over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title. Has written tech content for GamePro, Official Australian Playstation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the Daily Mirror. Twitter: @iampaulmcnally

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