Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #72 - From Frontier Developments
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Greetings, Commander,
Welcome to Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #72.

This week we're coming to you a day early to take the wraps off our third major content update. This announcement means a lot to us, so in this special newsletter our team will talk through the new features of Powerplay in their own words, and we'll reveal how you'll be able to make your own powerplay in the Elite: Dangerous galaxy.

We're taking this announcement directly to you, the players. Whether you're on Reddit, SteamTwitterFacebook, one of the many international community sites or our own Frontier Forums, we hear you and we hope you're as excited by Powerplay as we are.
Powers will rise in May.

Contents This Week

What Is Powerplay?

Powerplay is a new way to play Elite: Dangerous.

In Powerplay, you can participate in an ongoing battle for interstellar conquest and control that enhances every aspect of the Elite: Dangerous experience.

When Powerplay launches, you'll be able to ally yourself with any one of a number of galactic Powers, earning valuable perks, reputation bonuses and credits for your allegiance. 

As a trusted ally of your chosen Power, you will be able to guide their strategy, take on special objectives to advance your shared cause, and dominate human space. Your choices and actions will have a direct and visible impact on the balance of galactic power.

And of course, Powerplay is a FREE content update for all Elite: Dangerous players and will be part of Elite: Dangerous for Mac and Xbox One at launch.

The Powers

Every Power is a fully fleshed-out organisation or character with a figurehead, biography, political leaning and faction-specific perks. Each one dominates an expanse of human-occupied space and your actions will see their influence grow as they overthrow neighbouring systems, or collapse as other players move against them.
Senator Denton Patreus (Click to enlarge)
"If you choose to participate in Powerplay, it will add a whole new dimension to Elite: Dangerous," Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco says. "These powers have their own ethos and methods. How they take control of systems varies depending on whether they favour warlike or more pacifist methods. Some will conquer systems with economics, others by just sending in the troops. Either way, you can be part of that."

Combat-focused players may choose to side with warlike Powers for combat missions and perks, while trade-focused players may prefer to side with a Power looking to expand their trade monopoly.

"You could choose a Power for any number of reasons," Sammarco continues. "Maybe you'll pick one who dominates a regular trade route you like or one that offers the kinds of missions you like to fly. Maybe you'll pick one whose politics you favour or maybe you'll just side with one who's about to go to war with your best friend's faction!"

"These characters offer us a chance to get deeper into the fabric of the Elite: Dangerous galaxy," Art Director Chris Gregory says. "Some of these Powers are new, and some will be familiar. You'll see fresh faces alongside names like Aisling Duval, Torval and Denton Patreus. Fans may already have a picture in their heads of what these people look like, but in some cases I think they'll be intrigued when they see those faces for the first time."

We want players to love or hate these Powers," Gregory continues. "Because it's the players who will choose their actions on the galaxy map each week."

Conquest and Control

In the Powerplay update you'll find a new tab on the galaxy map, displaying the current state of galactic control among all the Powers. 

"We've had to add a lot to the galaxy map," User Interface Head Jon Pace says. "Powerplay is like a massive strategy boardgame, but our conflicts play out in three dimensions, and we have to make that readable for players. You can see all their borders, what kinds of systems they control, who their neighbours and enemies are, and how the map changes every week as the Powers make their moves.

"And we've added new screens to your ship's UI," Pace continues. "So you can get an immediate overview of the Powers and their standing in the galaxy."
An early version of Patreus' Overview screen, detailing his warlike ethos (Click to enlarge)
In Powerplay, every week is a fresh opportunity to expand and defend your Power's galactic influence. All week long players can perform actions to undermine enemy control over systems, fortify your territory against rivals attempting to undermine you, or prepare unoccupied systems for conquest. Systems prepared for takeover will become zones where duelling Powers can attempt to expand their borders.

"Players choose which system their Power targets," Sammarco says. "At the end of the week the target will be chosen and objectives will be created. If your Power tasks you to conquer a system, there will always be an opposing mission for the other side.

"One of my favourite parts of Powerplay is how the objectives match the faction's ethos," Sammarco continues. "For example, if a major economic Power sends in their traders for a financial takeover against a military powerhouse, the other side may be tasked with piracy missions to destroy or loot their cargo. You can always be a trader or a miner or a pirate for your own ends, but by joining a Power you'll be afforded special rights and be rewarded for playing the way you already like to play."

Risk and Reward

Participating in Powerplay is your choice. You can stand alone in a galaxy of giants or pick a side and be as active as you like in your Power's plans for galactic conquest. For those who enter the fray, there are valuable rewards and bonuses on offer.

"For starters, many bonuses only apply in friendly space," 
Executive Producer Michael Brookes says. "The size of that space is dictated by how much of the human-occupied galaxy your Power controls, so the more you control the further you can travel, trade and fight under your Power's protection and benefits.

"And every Power has ranks of its own," Brookes continues. "Achieving a high rank affords you more votes and more control over the Power's actions each week. The most valued pilots will have a lot of say in where their Power goes next."
Torval and Patreus supporters clash over the Carnai system (Click to enlarge)
By completing missions, players drive their Power’s expansion and boost their personal standing. A successful week will bring players rewards and see their Power expand across the galaxy, but failure may see your chosen faction weakened or finished outright.

By joining a Power that supports your play style you'll get better deals, cheaper repair costs, reduced fines, increased values for exploration data and more. Some Powers stand alone, but others have their own allegiance to the Empire or Federation and can offer reputation bonuses for their followers, potentially fast-tracking pilots to faction-exclusive starships.

Players will even have a hand in creating new Powers. The initial selection of factions will rise to a maximum of twenty as players provide assistance to minor local forces; as those forces establish a foothold across a handful of systems, they may rise to become Powers in their own right.

You can choose to defect if one of those new Powers is more appealing, but you should weigh the benefits of joining a new power against the consequences for your treachery. You may find yourself wanted by your former friends.

"But for me the best reward is how Powerplay changes combat," Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco says. "The Pilots Federation waives all penalties for engaging invaders in combat during times of war, so you'll have license to attack anyone from a rival power in your own territory without incurring a bounty. We're giving players a reason to engage in PVP against supporters of other factions, and a chance to feel like part of a team even if you prefer to play alone.

"Powerplay is a huge feature in its own right, and a huge change to the game," Sammarco continues. "Players have always been able to influence the background simulation and affect change in the galaxy, but Powerplay gives you control over these charismatic entities and wage war on a truly massive scale. It's a chance to choose a side, earn great rewards and reshape the galaxy in a really cool way."

More Content in the Powerplay Update

And we're not done. Powerplay will bring with it a host of new features and content that will change how you play Elite: Dangerous, no matter how you choose to experience the galaxy.

We're rebalancing roles, opening new opportunities and making the Elite: Dangerous galaxy more surprising than ever before. Here's a quick overview of some of the features and upgrades you'll find as part of Powerplay:
  • A new GalNet feed accessible directly from the ship User Interface, and a better player inbox to track options in branching missions.
  • An overhauled mission system to support Powerplay's new objectives and to give players dedicated missions based on rank and status.
  • New drones for collecting cargo, prospecting, mining and transferring fuel to empower you whether you favour trading, combat or exploration, whether you prefer to fly with friends or alone.
  • Two new player-piloted ships: the Lakon Diamondback and the Imperial Courier.
Lakon Diamondback
Imperial Courier
  • Higher-yield mining spots and high and low intensity extraction sites, adding risk to mining and dramatically increasing the potential rewards.
  • A bigger cash insurance safety net from the Pilots Federation for higher-ranked pilots so you can fly more expensive ships with reduced risk. We want pilots to be daring.
  • A number of improvements to the background simulation. You might not notice them, but they're all making the galaxy more credible and richer in every way.
  • A number of under-the-hood tweaks to balance the different ways players choose to play.
  • And finally, a gold Founder's ship decal for Kickstarter backers who backed Elite: Dangerous at £150 or more.

Ask Us Anything

We're sure you have questions, and we want to answer them, so tomorrow you'll have a chance to put all your questions to Frontier CEO and Elite co-creator David Braben in a live Q&A on the Elite: Dangerous forums.

Visit the forums at 16:00 BST on Friday, April 24 when David will host a Powerplay Q&A to answer all your questions about Elite: Dangerous' massive third content update.

We hope you'll join us tomorrow, and we're looking forward to hearing your feedback on the newest ways to play Elite: Dangerous.

Comms Chatter

Big week, but there's still room for Comms Chatter. Nicholas Brakespear on YouTube put together this collection of time lapse imagery for his video, Throttle Down 2.
PC Gamer has announced the winner of its Elite: Dangerous screenshot competition with an entry chosen by our Art Director, Chris Gregory.

Chris chose Brandon Sproles' entry, below, saying: "There were a lot of great shots here, showing off some extraordinary sights from across the galaxy, but for me, Brandon’s image was the most striking. It does everything you want from a screenshot – it’s a beautiful image, it features an iconic Elite ship, it has a sense of drama and mystery, and it tells a story. The pilot is headed somewhere and the shot invites us to speculate on why, where and what."
Forum user Dastardly has developed a lucrative 60-stop trading route. He put his route down on paper and is challenging the community to complete the voyage in the fastest time possible. See his entry information by viewing the Founders 'Ultimate Gold' Trading Route and Competition forum post. 
And finally, there's still time to enter the Elite: Dangerous Ctrl+Alt+Space film competition. Click here for details on the rules and prizes. Good luck, commanders.
Last week Zemina Torval and Aisling Duval went head to head in a contest Imperial citizens have dubbed the ‘Great Slaver Showdown’. Aisling’s Angels freed an impressive 1,149,756 slaves, but this effort was dwarfed by supporters of the Imperial Slavers Association, who provided a better way of life for 2,387,567 non-citizens.

Dozens of local traders have gone to extraordinary efforts to stimulate Kui Hsien’s economy. Sadly their efforts were not enough, as the Friends of Kui Hsien still find themselves unable to meet the financial demands placed on them by Senator Patreus and Eotienses Silver Universal PLC. Senator Patreus has authorised the a forfeiture process. Imperial mercenaries interested in participating in the reclamation effort are being invited to sign up for active duty aboard Aoki Dock in BV Phoenicis.

Thousands of Imperial bounty hunters answered the call of Princess Arissa to uncover the identity of the cabal behind the cowardly attack on the ailing Emperor. Acting on the advice of several trustworthy members of the Imperial court, the Princess began by disrupting several large-scale criminal operations taking place in Nehet and Mictlan. Hundreds of Imperial Commanders loyal to the Princess descended on the systems in force. The fury of the makeshift fleet shattered the local gangs, and within 24 hours the fighting was over.

Last weekend the Imperial Slavers Association was supposed to make five million Imperial Slaves available for a significant discount in the markets aboard Lagerkvist Gateway. Much to the dismay of hundreds of eager Imperial traders, the slaves (and their associated discount) were delayed by members of Princess Lavigny-Duval’s retinue as they attempted to pass through LTT 9810.

In what many pundits are calling a clear attempt to consolidate his position as the most influential arms dealer in the Empire, Senator Denton Patreus has today announced an initiative to rejuvenate Parkinson Dock, in order to promote the development of High Tech goods in Eotienses. In order to properly repurpose the facilities aboard Parkinson Dock, the Citizens’ Forum has placed several sizable orders of Industrial Materials in the local market. Once those orders are filled, engineers will be able to start work on the rejuvenation process.
That’s it for Newsletter #72. As always, if there's anything in particular that you’d like to hear more about, or if you'd like to ask a question, then please contact us at

Click for the latest Game Manual, Quickstart Guide and Pilot Training Videos. Visit our Support team here and read all our previous newsletters here.

Until next time, fly safe and Right On, Commander.

The Frontier Team
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