Elite Dangerous: Beyond – Chapter One, the first part of the third season of Frontier Development's sci-fi space sim, will go live on February 27. The studio said that Beyond, which will be free for all players, will focus primarily on "community-requested enhancements" to the game, including improvements to criminal behavior reactivity that will make the galaxy "fairer and more competitive" for everyone.
Crime-and-punishment changes include a new Advance Tactical Response unit that will pursue repeat offenders, a "hot ships" feature that will associate crimes with a player's ships, and increased consequences for bad behavior enables through new notoriety levels. Pilots will also have access to a new, in-the-cockpit source of news and updates through the GalNet Audio channel, which Frontier said will enable them to "engage with the overarching narrative without ever leaving the action."
On the less flashy side of things, the update will incorporate a new trade data overlay that will help find profitable trade routes, make changes to engineering mechanics that guarantee improvements when crafting, update the mission rewards system, and see the launch of a new combat ship called The Chieftain, "built as a response to the new Thargoid threat." Thargoids are the mysterious, hostile alien race that ply the spacelines on oddly beautiful, flower-like ships, and who have recently taken to attacking human starports.
Frontier also teased an upcoming "Thargoids in Real Life" contest on Steam, and said that more information about that will be revealed "soon" on its Facebook and Twitter pages. I can't imagine how that might work out, so for the mystery alone it sounds like something worth paying attention to.