The next big content update in the second year for Elite: Dangerous will enter closed beta in the first week of next month, giving players with beta access the opportunity to test the new content before the official release later this year, developer Frontier Developments has announced.
This new update, titled 'The Engineers', will have version number 2.1 and will add a ton of new features to the game. Some of these features will only be available to players who bought the season pass, with some of these features becoming available to anyone who owns any version of the game as part of a free update.
This update will introduce a looting and crafting system to the game, allowing commanders to create their own modules and items with stuff they either mine or find in the vast nothingness of space. This system will also allow players to create unique equipment not obtainable through any other means. Some of these loot and crafting features will also make their way to the base game. How much of this will be in the free update is as of yet unclear.
As mentioned above, crafting will become a big part of the game tied in to the titular Engineers. These Engineers are unqieu NPC's with a backstory, unique loyalties, specializations and rank requirements that can give you powerful blueprints for gear you can't get anywhere else. In order to get these you will need to do missions for them and increase your standing with them. The better your standing with any given Engineer, the better the blueprints you can get off them are. There are around 30 Engineers active in the colonized part of space. While some of their locations will be known from the get-go, some of them need to be found first.
Commanders will also be able to have more creative control over their ships as well, giving players the ability to visually customize their ships and make it their own. There will also be a new weapon type that damages your opponents and rebuilds your the shields of your allies.
Over the next few weeks, Frontier Developments will be sending out weekly newsletters detailing all the new facts and features coming to the beta. All of these, as well as all the older ones, can be found on the official forums. Starting next Thursday, the developer will also be hosting several live streams on their Twitch where they show off some of the new things coming to the game.
For a full list of all the implemented and planned features for Elite: Dangerous you can go to the official subreddit to find a handy, always up-to-date roadmap!