Cmdr CMDR Hunter Saige gave us some of his ideas for more stuff we may get whilst waiting for 2020 “In last week’s podcast you asked the listeners to weigh in on what features Frontier might add to Elite Dangerous in the coming year. Here’s my two cents worth. [Full disclosure; I’m Elite in exploration but still both Harmless and Penniless, so my preferences are somewhat biased. Also, I’m a middle-aged guy with a wife and family, so I usually only manage to play for about an hour or so a day. Exploration works well for me because I can start and stop at will and play in short sessions as circumstances allow.)”
Gimme some SRV Love:
Others have mentioned this, and it seems like a no-brainer for FDEV to do. How about 2 new SRV models? Reposition the Scarab as the mid-size model. Introduce a smaller motorcycle-style SRV (the Cricket?) that is faster, but weaker and has no cargo storage; and a larger tank-style SRV that is slower but better armoured and has more cargo space. Perhaps style it as a walking “spider” tank (a la Ghost In The Shell (1995)) and call it the Tarantula! Change the SRV hangar mechanics to accommodate the range of sizes with a simple formula of 2 Crickets = 1 Scarab; 2 Scarabs = 1 Tarantula . For example a class-2 hangar could then store either 1 Scarab or 2 Crickets, and a class-4 hangar could store either; 1 Tarantula or; 2 Scarabs or; 2 Crickets + 1 Scarab or; 4 Crickets. A class-6 hangar could be similarly divided. Finally, add a super-lightweight class-1 hangar big enough for a single Cricket, for small ships that want to maximize their jump range yet still collect mats while out in the black.
A rogue planet is a planet that has been cast off by its star and is now floating freely in interstellar space. Astronomers currently estimate there may be over a trillion rogue planets drifting through the Milky Way, ranging from frozen rocky worlds up to massive super-Jovians. We could assume that having a rogue planet too close to your ships course in witchspace will cause an FSD malfunction and drop you back into normal space, with the same ship damage you would get from an emergency drop. Frontier already have all the assets and logic in place for Thargoid hyperdictions; this could be reused for a rogue planet encounter. Rogue planets would never show up on the galaxy map, and need not be generated by stellar forge. Instead they could be a random occurrence rather like a scenario, with a probability of occurring every, say, 1000 jumps (or 0.1% of the time). Why bother? Rogue planets could have an increased probability of containing rare minerals and biologicals, or perhaps even ruins of some kind (Guardian, Thargoid, or something else). They would add an extra element of danger to exploration. It would also put a new twist on the possible location of Raxxla, eh?
If Frontier wants to take some baby steps toward atmospheric landings, they could implement gas mining of gas giants. This would give a taste of atmospheric handling without the need to implement the landing part. Perhaps they could introduce a new “gas collector” module that acts like a fuel scoop but instead of filling the fuel tank it directs gasses to the refinery module where they can be purified and stored in 1 ton canisters. Modify the DSS to show “geological” sites on gas giants that contain high concentrations of rare gasses. Pilots would need to dive into the upper atmosphere of the gas giant, compensating for chemical and storm effects upon the aerodynamics (or lack thereof) of their ship. Higher gas concentrations would be found at deeper altitudes, but heat and pressure also increase with depth, so going too deep will damage your ship.
Similarly, all those gas giants with either water-based or ammonia-based life might become a new resource if Frontier made a “bio sampling” module for ships. The DSS could identify “biological” sites on a gas giant with alien life. Alien bacteria and other small life forms could be scooped, packaged, and sold to pharmaceutical or other research firms.
Make black holes scary again:
I am told that, once upon a time, black holes were more dangerous than white dwarfs and neutron stars. Play testers complained about this, seemingly offended that the universe’s most dangerous objects were actually, well, dangerous. Frontier, apparently having left all of their balls on Bento, acquiesced to this request and nerfed black holes into the dark fluffy bunnies they are today. I say the bunny needs some fangs!