Elite: Dangerous’ Aliens Are Evolving

Elite: Dangerous’ Aliens Are Evolving

Image credit: Frontier.

Earlier this week, Elite: Dangerous‘ players found themselves struggling with a moral quandary. They’d figured out how to kill aliens, but they weren’t sure if they should. Now, though, they have been hit with a curve ball: the aliens are growing wise to human weapons and tactics.

It all began yesterday in the wake of a new patch. Players noticed that their anti-xeno missiles, currently the only way to bring down Thargoids, were suddenly significantly less effective against Thargoid ships. Specifically, I’ve seen people say that they’re now 50 times less effective.

Basically, they do nothing. Developer Frontier explained why in a lore-friendly news post.

“Preliminary reports indicate that although the AX missiles were inflicting significant damage on the Thargoid ships’ ‘heart’ modules, they are now proving less effective,” read a ‘Galactic News’ update from Frontier.

“We believe this is due to the Thargoids developing a resistance to the compound carried by the missiles.”

The post also noted that Thargoids’ tactics are changing. They have learned how to lock onto ships that have deployed countermeasures, and they have begun dodging missiles instead of mindlessly advancing forward like outer-space zombies.

Lastly, the drones they deploy have become more accurate, which is bad news for small ships. In short, these Staryu-looking motherfuckers have evolved into Starmie-acting motherfuckers. Good luck, humanity.

Image credit: Frontier.

Image credit: Frontier.

It’s an interesting development in this ongoing Elite saga, but so far the player response has been pretty negative. Many see it as a glorified weapons nerf, in large part because their weapons literally got nerfed.

Rather than upping Thargoids’ resistance to anti-xeno missiles, Frontier made anti-xeno missiles less powerful across the board — instantly, no less. It’s a decision that, for some players, strains credulity.

“[Frontier] did this completely bass ackwards in my opinion,” wrote a player named Marshmelloz on Reddit. “They reduced damage values on the missiles, rather than increasing Thargoid resistance to them.”

“And they did it instantly too, rather than slowly making the Thargoids take more and more missiles to kill until we realised they were actually adapting. This just feels like [Frontier] gave us a fun new toy and then before most of us got to play with it, they smashed it to bits with a hammer.”

For a lot of incensed players, that last bit is especially key. Thargoid encounters are brand new, and players are still adjusting to them. Heck, some haven’t even geared up enough to join the war effort yet.

“People also have a legitimate reason to complain about the timescale,” wrote a player named Midonsmyr in another thread on Reddit.

“We’ve had these missiles for a week. Not everyone has had a chance to use them, we’re still refining how to. This is a portent for how the arms race will go, and lots of people won’t really want to participate if this is the pattern we’ll continue to see.”

For now, though, it’s on players to get another leg up in the human vs alien arms race. This involves collecting alien tissue using special research items. Ultimately, that will lead to the development of a new, more powerful weapon, a process that prominent Elite YouTuber ObsidianAnt outlines here:

ObsidianAnt goes on to criticise Frontier for the way it handled the anti-xeno weapons change, but adds that because of new Thargoid tactics (and perhaps more excitingly, alleged sightings of an entirely new type of Thargoid), this is clearly more than a glorified weapons nerf.

“Of course, this is just a simple case of wording,” he notes, “but at the end of the day, it does have an effect on how people perceive the unfolding events.”

So it’s cool that Thargoids are adapting and evolving, but maybe they could cool their jets a little? Or whatever weird, fleshy flower appendage they have instead of jets.


        • Not serious in the slightest 🙂 But it sure feels like it could take that long 🙁 If @armaron is right though (and no reason to think he isn’t), it shouldn’t me all that long now, relatively speaking.

          I just hope it doesn’t let us down too much.

    • Well Alpha 3.0 is coming soon with the game’s major bugs all but wiped out so hopefully at the end of October. And It will add tons of new content to play with while we await Squadron 42 the single-player campaign.

  • I get the impression they nerfed because the realized the missles were too OP in the first place, just as happens in a lot of games. They’re just covering it under a layer of “the aliens are adapting” because they are actually pushing that mechanic also.
    As someone who has never played this game, I like watching this slow burn introduction of the thargoids from an outside perspective.

    • I think its what was designed all along… the thargoids are a tissue like “craft” that are adapting like a bio organism to the weaponry that is produced in real time with community goals in game
      Players make weapon, kill a few and it evolves…. this is part of the mystery/discovery/developing storyline that is why the games 6GB of patch contains no seeming changes…. but a slow release of changes to the thargoid invasion of elites galaxy.

      • I’m leaning the same way myself. Its not the sort of thing you’d miss in testing, so the initial damage is most likely to be deliberate. But man it looks like a nerf.

        Thing is, even with the initial missile damage, it still wasn’t easy to take one down, so its not like the risk to Thargoids was actually significant to the point they needed an immediate solution. So even if this was the plan all along, I get the backlash.

        In the end, it just seems a little clumsy.

        • maybe the thargoid ship code is more complex than we think
          and they had to nerf the weapon instead of the thargoid

          i dunno only speculation

        • I haven’t even seen a Thargoid yet, Oh dang, I miss out on the new content because i’m not the 1% flying the best ship in the game capable of going up against the Thargoids, lol Basically the developers are unfortunately balancing the game around the top players which is not ideal.

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