The latest update for Elite: Dangerous has been out for about two days, and players are stumped.
Update 2.4 (also called The Return) features the Thargoids, an ancient alien race that commanders have been chasing around the Milky Way galaxy for the better part of a year. It all began in January when massive, flower-shaped spaceships began pulling players out of hyperspace — that game’s version of faster-than-light travel — seemingly at random. Things escalated in June after a series of massive alien structures were discovered in multiple star systems.
With The Return, it appears that the Thargoids are searching for something. Their efforts are centralized in the Pleiades Nebula, which is also the site of a new human colony in the Maia system. That’s bad news for non-player characters in-game, as several in-fiction groups are seeing disruptions in travel and trade because of Thargoid interference.
But it’s good news for owners of Elite. The Pleiades Nebula isn’t all that far away, and even new players should be able to make it to the scene with low-level ships and equipment.
YouTuber ObsidianAnt has a great summary of how to find a Thargoid ship on your own. Simply search for non-human signal sources while moving at supercruise speed around star systems in the Pleiades, move to within one million kilometers and low-wake into realspace, also known as hitting the brakes.
If you get too close to the Thargoid ship, called a cyclops, or attack it in any way it will respond with force. In the above video you can see the alien moving around, scanning human wreckage and searching or something. ObsidianAnt even makes a few offerings, tossing objects out of his hull to entice the creature.
When the Thargoid cyclops lashes out, it launches dozens of tiny, drone-like ships and proceeds to peck players to death from afar. So far, even high-level commanders in specially-outfitted attack ships haven’t been able to bring the aliens down. But they have been able to damage them, breaking off organic pieces of the ships.
These tissue specimens, as well as tantalum and other materials, are being accepted in the Wolf 397 starsystem as part of the so-called second Aegis Initiative. It’s thought that once enough material is collected, the developers at Frontier will release a new weapon system that will give players the edge in combat.
But, even then, it may not be enough.
Sarah Jane Avory, who programmed the Thargoid AI, says that players haven’t seen anything yet. “This is just the beginning,” she said yesterday on Twitter.
The Mistress warns, “Trust me, you haven’t seen anything yet… Hehehe…”
— Sarah Jane Avory (@SarahJaneAvory) September 27, 2017