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Elite Dangerous Fleet Carriers beta begins tomorrow, here's how to get in

The Elite Dangerous Fleet Carriers beta launches tomorrow, April 7, and if you, like me, are a fan of massive, heavily-gunned ships prowling the vast emptiness of space, then you might be interested in taking part. If so, a new guide posted today by Frontier Developments will help you do just that.

This part is actually pretty simple: Fire up Elite Dangerous in Steam—it has to be Steam for the first round of testing—and then select Elite Dangerous: Horizons from the beta. Don't own Horizons? Doesn't matter, it will be enabled in the beta build. When the launcher loads, log into your account if you haven't already, and then from the launcher window select "Elite Dangerous: Horizons Fleet Carriers Update (Beta)." That's it, you're off!

The beta build will operate almost identically to the live game—credits and reputation will be earned at the same rate—but the beta Milky Way will run completely separate from the live game, so any progress earned in it will not carry over after the test ends. Arx, Elite Dangerous' virtual currency, will also be disabled for the test. If you take part in the test, your beta account will begin in the state that your live account was in on March 26.

"Throughout the beta, we'll need Commanders to acquire Fleet Carriers, but also use them as guests and visitors," Frontier said. "It's really important that we have feedback on how it is to manage a Fleet Carrier, but also take advantage, as a guest, of the services that can be enabled on them. Fleet Carriers will shake up the galaxy, enabling players to create hubs and services like never before!"

Here's what you can expect, and what's expected of you:

Fleet Carrier Owners

Fleet Carriers will cost 5,000,000,000 credits in this beta. You will be able to purchase a Fleet Carrier at these stations:

  • Agartha - Enoch Port
  • Alcor - Macdonald Settlement
  • Balante - Laplace Ring
  • CD-47 990 - Jackson Ring
  • Colonia - Jaques Station
  • Diso - Shifnalport
  • Ehlanda - Clark Port
  • Kakmbutan - Macgregor Orbital
  • Kruger 60 - Kepler Gateway
  • Lan Tzak - Jacobi Platform
  • Namnetes - Jolliet Enterprise
  • Panoi - Garen Hub
  • Skeggiko O - Kuo Terminal

Along with having fun with your new Fleet Carrier, we would also like you to try out specific aspects and provide feedback on them:

Once you have your Fleet Carriers, we would like owners to try:

  • Jumping the Fleet Carrier to new locations. We would like your feedback on preparation and cooldown times, and navigating through the Galaxy and System map to plot the route.
  • Using the standard services available to you.
  • Try out different crew members.
  • Transferring any cargo from your ship to the Fleet Carrier.
  • Filling the Fleet Carrier with Tritium, which you can get by mining Ice Asteroids or purchasing at stations that supply it.

With the different services available to you, we would really appreciate your feedback on all of these. We understand that kitting out your Fleet Carrier for your playstyle is important, but it would be helpful for us to see owners try each and every service they can.

  • Outfitting
  • Shipyard
  • Redemption Officer
  • Advanced Maintenance
  • Fence
  • Crew Lounge

Check out the Remote Fleet Carrier Maintenance and make sure all the functions work the same way as when you are docked at the Fleet Carrier.

  • Carrier Upkeep: What are you thoughts on the standard upkeep costs? Does suspending services help with the management of your weekly costs?
  • Livery: The livery will not be available in the beta

Fleet Carrier Visitors

As we said above, Commanders who visit and use Fleet Carriers are just as important as the owners, we need you to test the services and make sure Fleet Carriers work for everyone in the galaxy.

Below is a list of just some of the things that we would like you to do whilst experiencing these vast vessels:

  • Visit a Fleet Carrier: Did you have trouble finding and docking at a Fleet Carrier? Was it clear that the Fleet Carrier you found was owned by another player?
  • Trade both clean and stolen goods (if the owner has a Fence available).
  • Purchasing Ships and Modules (If the owner has these services available).
  • Donate Tritium: We would also like for Commanders to go out and mine for Tritium. They can also purchase them at stations.
  • Hop on and fly somewhere with the Fleet Carrier.
  • Store your modules and ships aboard a friendly Fleet Carrier either directly or by transfer. Make sure that these are things you can live without, or make sure you trust the owner!

The Elite Dangerous Fleet Carriers beta begins at 7 am ET on April 7. A second beta, which will also be open to console players, is expected to take place in May.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.