Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #22 - From Frontier Developments
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Hi Commander,

Welcome to Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #22!

In this issue we learn how the Pilots Federation formed, and hear more about the three power blocs at large in the Galaxy.

We also take a deeper look at the star systems centered around the Boötes constellation that make up the five spectacular systems you will encounter in Alpha 4.

Table of Contents (click subject to jump forward):

Sneak Peek of the Week
Badge of Honour
Introducing the Galactic Power
Alpha 4: Bootes Camp Part 2
Start Playing Today
Comms Chatter
Mostly Harmless
Tribute to Colin Pillinger


Sneak Peek of the Week

' i Boötis A, G0V type star.'

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Badge of Honour

As a recent inductee to the Pilots Federation, there are some things you need to know about your new organization.
Formed in 2805 after the great surge in private ownership of smaller starships, the Pilots Federation soon found a role as a conduit for trade route information exchange between trusted pilots and provided the infrastructure for a mutual protection scheme against the rising scourge of interstellar pirates.
Planet-siders began to distrust the generally itinerant nature of starship captains, who always seemed willing and able to jump to a new system before the law caught up with them.  The Pilots Federation’s zero tolerance policy of dishonourable behaviour amongst its members is enforced by a system of bounties automatically placed on the heads of transgressors.
This built a galaxy-wide respect for the badge, which then started to be worn with pride by members.  However, the organization’s official adoption of the 9-level ‘kill tally’ ranking system (Harmless through to the coveted Elite status) ensured the Pilots Federation retained a level of blood-thirsty notoriety.

Over the centuries the Pilots Federation has remained secretive in nature and neutral in conflicts, and has grown into one of the dominant financial superpowers of the galaxy through its GalNet data network. Originally a star chart, ship data and bounty management system, GalNet has evolved into an effective galactic infrastructure and content monopoly on news, market pricing and communication systems.  This has not been without controversy, with periodic claims of data hoarding and abuse of its position.
It’s not surprising that an organization founded on status, and with such influence and power, has several cliques (The Dark Wheel being the most infamous). Or that those of Elite rank have further exploited their status and the incredible demand for their services, by forming an organization within an organization; the Elite Pilots Federation.
Relentless, increasingly well organized piracy and the need to maintain their reputation and influence as the best of the best caused the Elite Pilots Federation to start opening its membership to candidates from the Deadly rank who were able to pass a rigorous test and then, as demand continued to soar, to those from the Dangerous rank.
The Pilots Federation has eschewed being tied to any particular system in favour of roaming the stars. With one exception – the Founders World.
The elusive Founders World system is governed by the Elite Pilots Federation, and run exclusively for the benefit of their members.  Its location is closely guarded, heavily protected, and the subject of extensive misinformation on GalNet.
Maybe one day you’ll be one of the Elite who get to go there…


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Introducing the Galactic Power Blocs

There are three major power blocs that you will encounter in the galaxy:

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. Society is strictly stratified, with people being able to move between strata (lower strata particularly) based on money, patronage and influence.
The Empire values both status and honour very highly indeed. 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 clear. 
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.  Some Senators are warlike and may take over systems in the name of the Empire, to get the spoils, and they may get a good deal of support as a result.  Some Senators do not tolerate slavery, and regularly speak out against it, but from the basis of honour - not suggesting it should not be legal.
In the Empire, very little is illegal, but many things are frowned upon, like excessive use of narcotics.
To an outsider, the hierarchy of Federation society is based on democratic principles - people vote within their System/State to elect Congressmen, and a President with an 8-year term and a ‘vote of confidence’ after the first 4 years.
However, corporate loyalty oils the machine, and Federation space is a battleground of commerce. Commercial organisations 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 not unusual – individuals defend it shamelessly when caught as ‘getting one over the system’. Social class is only determined between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.  There is a lot of poverty about, as well as conspicuous wealth.
The huge gross domestic product (GDP) of the Federation economy funds a large, well-equipped Federal Navy which projects its values and influence.
Culturally the Federation is tolerant of some things (like religions) but utterly intolerant of drug-taking, political activism, and certain cultures. A great many things are illegal, like slavery, cloning and certain narcotics.
Federal law is based on an agreed Constitution. People have rights and freedoms, enshrined by this agreement. Local ‘State’ law prohibits other trafficking to a greater or lesser degree.  Things like ship-based weapons, personal weapons, other milder drugs and alcohol are banned in some systems.
The media drives a culture of celebrity. Top ranking politicians, social commentators, entertainers and super-rich all command a great deal of media attention. This provides a massive distraction for the populace, to the extent that foreign wars conducted by the Federation on their behalf get little media attention. This has gone on for many hundreds of years, and there is no sign of it changing.
The Independent Alliance of Systems arose out of a need for cooperation. Centuries of warfare and both Imperial and Federal meddling in a great many otherwise peaceful independent systems caused various small alliances to form and then get broken up over the centuries.
The Alliance formed from a number of culturally different systems with a unified goal – to provide a stronger voice in the galaxy for its member systems and ultimately to defend them against unwelcome attention from the big powers. The Independent Alliance is culturally very varied and leadership of the Alliance (the presidency moves between member systems annually) has been described as ‘challenging’. Seeking agreement between the member systems is generally a tortuous process, usually ending up with a great deal of compromise.
Militarily, cooperation has been more successful. Each member system contributes a portion of its navy to the Alliance Defence Force – the total contribution proportional to its GDP. It is led by the six-strong Council of Admirals (one from each of the largest member navies), but they can act swiftly without government approval, which has proved very effective, and over the years there has been little disagreement between the admirals.
Contributed vessels generally bear the decals of their own navy, but have an additional Alliance Defence Force decal applied while they are with the group – so the culture of identity and independence (and rivalries) applies here too.

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Alpha 4: Boötes Camp Part 2

Following on from our last newsletter’s brief introduction, here is some more detail of the five spectacular star systems centered around the Boötes constellation in which you will be able to trade in Alpha 4:
ERANIN is a small independent system orbiting a K3V yellow-orange star, and including an outdoor world Azeban, with an extensive agricultural economy specializing mainly in grain and livestock, with tea and coffee plantations in the equatorial regions.
DAHAN is a pretty conventional corporate system belonging to the Federation with industrial-scale extraction of a range of ores and refineries too, producing metallic Tantalum, Titanium, Aluminium and more for nearby manufacturing industries.

 'A beautiful shot of Dahan III.'

i BOÖTIS is an interesting and unusual quaternary system with a mixed Industrial and Marine economy, and also a member of the Federation. Chango is an outdoor water world and orbits i Boötis A – a G0V white-yellow star similar to Earth’s Sol. Chango is essentially a giant fish farm. People live on giant floating cities that slowly move with the seasonal migration of the fish – mostly species imported from ancient Earth. There is some industry (and fish processing) on Chango itself, but there are also dirtier industrial installations elsewhere in the system, for example on Dustball – a cold airless rocky world orbiting the gas giant Maher, which itself orbits the brown dwarf Maher Prime, which in turn orbits the rare W Ursae Majoris contact binary pair i Boötis B,C of type G2V stars, which co-orbits i Boötis A. Phew!

'i Bootis system information'

Maher Prime, the brown dwarf of approximately 50 Jupiter masses, is particularly interesting as it was first discovered in the early 21st century. It has an unusual orbit – very nearly perpendicular to the orbital plane of the other bodies in the system at about 10.7 AU from i Boötis B,C – any other orbit at this distance would be unstable because of strong tidal forces from i Boötis A. It was almost certainly captured by i Boötis B,C in a recent close encounter.
ASELLUS PRIMUS is an independent corporate-run binary system, with a central white F7V star, and far out a captured planet-less M3V red dwarf – the capture event millions of years earlier doubtless stripped Assellus Primus B of any planets that might have formed with it. Assellus Primus is known for its high-tech manufacturing.
LP 98-132 is an anarchic system with a solitary small M2V type dim red star. There isn’t a lot here, though there is some mining of valuable minerals like cobalt, rutile and coltan, and very occasionally of gold in the deep cold of its asteroid belt. It is unusual to find a non-mined-out mineral-rich system so close to Sol (only 40 or so light years away), but it was many centuries before anyone even noticed the asteroid belt was there, so far from the star. Ever since the system has been claimed and counter-claimed by numerous warlords and ne’er-do-wells, and the perpetual state of anarchy that has existed ever since has held down the numbers of ships mining here. The gold is far less plentiful than it was in the early days, but small finds are still made from time to time, and the high price of coltan (a mix of the ores columbite and tantalite, from which tantalum is made, a highly-prized transition metal used in high tech and in tiny quantities in specialist alloys) especially, still makes it worthwhile for some. Piracy is rife here with pirates on the look-out for those high value cargoes. There is a station Freedom City operated by group of locals, and this is the nearest thing to law that exists in the system.
You may experience a little tension between the Federation and independent systems…  and there are reports that LP 98-132 is rife with piracy…

Start Playing Today! 

Premium Beta Access
Premium Beta players can play TODAY! The countdown to the first full Premium Beta build has officially started now we have reached the month of May – T-minus 21 days to go!

You can immediately download and play a Single Player Combat build today before the end of May, so you can start practicing your Sidewinder skills.

Don’t forget you can upgrade from your current purchase to Premium Beta – just checkout with the Premium Beta in your shopping car and the correct discount will automatically be applied.

Join the Premium Beta Here!


Comms Chatter 

Although we are not yet ranking players, over on the Elite: Dangerous Reddit page, one alpha backer has staked a claim to being the first commander of the Elite: Dangerous era to reach the rating of ‘Dangerous’. With just over 2000 confirmed kills, Commander Starwind has not only reached the Dangerous rating (based on the old rating system), but is also well on his way to ‘Deadly’! If you think you have a kill count to contend with Commander Starwind then why not let us know, either by bragging about it on our official forums or over on the Elite: Dangerous Reddit page!

Back on terra firma, forum member roryscarlett has been brewing up a special Elite-themed Ale, christened ‘Asp Exploder’ by the community! For any other homebrew enthusiasts who fancy brewing up some Elite ale of their own, roryscarlett has generously shared his recipe over on the forums.

Mostly Harmless Questions

FS3DPete: Will explorers be able to receive recognition and a finder’s fee for discovering new bodies, such as planets?
  • Exploration is a form of data trading, discovering new systems and celestial bodies generates data that can then be traded for credits. Significant finds could also be reported in the newsfeeds and will also help guide the expansion of human space.
Patrick_68000: When we fly over planets, what minimum altitude will be allowed?
  • We will allow fuel skimming on gas giants and make sure that starports can be placed in suitable orbits. Throughout beta there will be an ongoing process to optimise and improve our already cool looking planets at ever closer distances. 

A Tribute to Colin Pillinger

From David Braben:

“I was very sorry to hear of the death yesterday morning of the wonderful Colin Pillinger. I had the honour to appear in a book with him called ‘The Backroom Boys,’ written by Francis Spufford. He was an inspirational, charismatic and eccentric character, managing to get a tiny spacecraft into space for millions of pounds as opposed to hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. It is a real shame that it crashed (something not uncommon in such exploration missions), and so there was not the succession of cheap space craft exploring the Solar system we had all hoped for. Such an excellent evangelist for space exploration and for science generally will be sadly missed.
We have renamed one of the stations in Alpha 4 ‘Beagle 2 Landing’ in honour of him, in much the same way as I named the planet Feynman shortly after the death of the excellent scientist of that name in Frontier: Elite 2.”

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That’s it for newsletter #22 - thank you again for reading and supporting the development of Elite: Dangerous so far!

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The Frontier Team

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