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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 is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.