The Guardians: An Overview of Elite Dangerous 2.2’s Best Improvements

Elite: Dangerous has come a long way since its original debut in 2014. Not only is it now available on Xbox One, but it is a much more complete game with more features and content.

Today signals the official arrival of the v2.2 update, or what many players consider to be the most significant update coming during the Horizons season. It includes significant renovations and additions for the game. Below we will go over what you need to know about it.

Note that v2.2 is known as v1.7 on Xbox One. Let's get started.


Buckle Up, Passengers

Spaceships are no longer a space for only one person. Passengers and VIPs have been introduced in v2.2, one of the most widely requested features since the game's launch. To fans of the exploration side of Elite: Dangerous, this is the highlight of the update.

You can now enroll in a variety of missions that toss some NPC characters into your ship provided you have one of the newly-added passenger models on-board your ship. You are then tasked with flying them around for sight-seeing, or sometimes just asked to get from point A to point B. Once your job is complete, you will be rewarded with credits, reputation, and more.

The passenger system was praised during beta for encouraging exploration. Previously, Elite: Dangerous didn't do much to reward players for straying off the beaten path, or checking our nearby planets. Passengers will send players to various locales that have been unutilized for a long time, providing a greater sense of being within the cosmos in the process.

The engineering behind the passenger system will in the future be used to introduce multi-crew ships, which will be capable of housing more than one player. This is only the beginning.

Fighters Deployed

Fans of other space exploration titles like EVE Online have been wondering why there aren't any drones in Elite: Dangerous. It may have taken some time, but they have finally arrived.

Called Fighters, these small dogfighters can be carried by larger ships that are equipped with the new specialized hangar module. These are a pain for small to medium ships to deal with as they are difficult to lock down due to their speed and are thus able to pressure the enemy with constant damage. Several of them can be equipped and deployed on a single ship, making them an attractive option for players who enjoy piloting large ships.

Fighters can be individually tuned and equipped. Despite this, if they are destroyed in combat they will automatically be replenished using a mid-combat cloning system. In other words, it's a major new system that has significantly increased the number of loadout options and potential potency of certain ships.

There are several options for Fighters, and they can either be piloted by yourself or an NPC crew member; the choice is yours. ‚ÄčIf you happen to be piloting a ship that is slow to maneuver, such as those that are best used for passenger missions, switching over to a deployed Fighter isn't such a bad idea.

Docking Request Accepted

Since the release of Elite: Dangerous there have been a few different Starport configurations, but these configurations only affected how the location appears from the outside. Once inside, they all appeared the same as if it was an optical illusion. Given how much time you spend in Starports, and their industrial appearance, this was a huge negative that contrasted heavily with the game's beautiful and seemingly endless outer space environments.

ALSO READ: v2.2 Makes Elite: Dangerous More Beautiful Than Ever

In v2.2 several new Starport visuals have been added. When you head inside you might see an attractive area with trees, parks, and fountains. Or, you might see a housing district with bright lights and real estate. You never know what you're heading into since there are now more than five variations, and that's a great thing for a game as visually oriented as Elite: Dangerous. You can expect some dazzling new screenshots to hit the internet, that's for sure.

This attention to the graphical presentation of the game has affected other areas as well. For example, Hyperspace has seen some adjustment that makes it much more awe inspiring. There has also been some improvement to planet surface maps, making them a better place to spend time.

Interestingly enough, you will now be able to transfer ships a long distance. This will allow you to own and utilize a large number of ships without having to spend hours flying between them. You can even sell remote ships if you don't think you'll ever use them again.

Evoking the Explorer Within You

There are many elements to the exploration aspect of Elite: Dangerous. v2.2 takes large strides toward improving the quality of life for players who prefer this style of play.

For one, the Star Map has benefited greatly. It's now easier to use filters, and Planetary Maps represent their location more accurately. You will now want to head into the System Map to zoom in and check out planets before visiting them, as the preview provides a great sense of what you can expect visually-speaking in addition to useful information.

What players are most excited about is the addition of new mystery sites. The subtle story elements of Elite: Dangerous are seeing some progression with their introduction, and players will be scouring planets across the galaxy to locate these secret structures. We might finally learn more about the aliens of the galaxy that have been unexplained for so long.

In addition to mystery sites encouraging planetary exploration, there are new harvestable geological structures to find on planets. These are very important for obtaining materials needed for upgrades and more.

What's Next?

The next major update will be called v2.3 The Commanders. Its main point of emphasis will be multi-crew ships. These will allow more than one player to share a single ship and participate in exploration and combat, which is expect to have a dramatic effect on the social aspect of Elite: Dangerous.

Frontier Developments also plans to release a full Commander Creation system where players can customize the appearance of their character. No ETA has been shared for these additions, although an early 2017 arrival is likely.

To learn about what the last major update (v2.1) included, see here.