Elite: Dangerous is a pretty fun game, but one of the problems is that it is very basic. There isn't much to do in the game, beyond grind, get ships, and save credits. With Horizons, a lot of much demanded features will be coming to the game, starting with planetary landings and getting to multi-crew / multi-ship setups. So far, the Horizons launch will include the first round of planets you can land on, along with tons of new missions, and lots of planet type things to do, from driving rovers around to fighting it out with outposts.
Some of the cool things I've observed is that there is now random missions to re-fuel stranded pilots stuck in a planet's atmosphere and a lot of new missions types I didn't see before. I'm not sure which of these are new, specifically, because I mostly only do bounty missions, but there is a lot more variety and a lot of things to do on a planet.
The biggest "cool thing" is simply no other than the entire planet landing system. I've gone into it before, but I've played a bit more now and can talk a little bit better about it. You can fly anywhere you want on a planet, these things are huge, and can land anywhere there is some flat ground to land on. Once you land, you can take off in your vehicle and ride around. Your ship, if you so desire, can return freely into orbit, and at a later point come retrieve you. Which is super cool to be able to actually see your ship from the outside, and makes some of the microtransaction based purchases for skins make a little bit more sense in a game that's FPS only (mostly).
The whole experience is seamless, mind you, you go from orbit, to the planet, to the ground, and back again without loading. Now, of course you'll likely enter the planet in cruise, but it's not like activating your FSD's hyperdrive. You can drop in and out without much of a problem. Once you enter the planet, you fly around like anywhere else, and can glide down to the surface with ease. Take-off is much like flying away from being stuck too close to the sun - align your orbit and now you're back in the upper "atmosphere" (only rocky planets are in with Horizons, Earth like planets will come later).
This is all meaningful because Elite Dangerous is often quoted as not having a lot of variety in things to do. With the inclusion of planets to land on, you now have a much wider variety of missions to choose from, and way more in places to find to do things in. Now you can visit planets, find cool things like ruins and shipwrecks, and engage with a lot more crazy missions (at least I never found someone stranded asking for fuel before).
Anyway, it's coming out next week and you can color me excited to play! I'll have more about the expansion in the coming week, as we ramp up till its official launch.
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