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Elite Dangerous: Beyond's Chapter 4 update introduces squadrons next week

Elite Dangerous: Beyond’s final chapter launches this month, bringing with it some nifty additions to mining and exploration and, perhaps even more importantly, formal in-game groups, known as squadrons. You’ll be able to team up with big groups of your space mates when Chapter 4 launches on December 11. In the meantime, catch the trailer above. 

The new analysis mode will let players tweak their discovery scanners so they can find stellar bodies and other phenomena. Probes can also be launched at planets and rings, mapping them and highlighting spots of interest. Between trade runs, exploring is mostly what I do in Elite, but the scanner has never felt particularly engaging. Frontier says it’s trying to rectify that with this update. 

Miners are similarly getting some new tools. They’ll be able to investigate rings and hunt down choice mining opportunities, while a scanner will reveal what kind of mineral deposits individual asteroids contain. And instead of just chipping away at them with puny mining lasers, skilled miners will be able to detonate the asteroids, causing a satisfying explosion and leaving lots of minerals waiting to be scooped up.

While players can team up in wings and organise themselves into groups like the Fuel Rats, there’s no real in-game support for things like clans or guilds. Squadrons will fill the gap, supporting players who want to band together in a more structured group. Squadrons get their own comms channels, leaderboards and hierarchy, and they can align themselves with a faction. In a future update, they’ll also be able to get fleet carriers that act as mobile bases. 

Expect a new lighting engine, too, along with interface tweaks and new ships, including the very flashy Mamba. With the Chapter 4 beta now closed, you’ll need to wait until next week to get your hands on the changes.   

Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long. He thinks labradoodles are the best dogs but doesn't get to write about them much.