Elite Dangerous is one of those games that, arguably, everyone should experience at least once. And it’ll never be easier than this week, because the space epic is available for free.
The game will be available through the Epic Games Store from now, As was the case with Civilization VI when Epic gave it away for nothing, Elite Dangerous will only be the base game — although given that the mammoth Odyssey expansion isn’t out until early next year, you’re basically getting everything you need. The two DLC “seaons”, Horizons and Beyond, are available for free, so Epic’s deal means you won’t be missing out on things like planetary landings, fleet carriers, squadrons, or those flower-shaped aliens that went around killing everyone.
Of course, this all gets away from the main fun of Elite Dangerous — and Star Citizen too, or at least what I’ve experienced of it so far. And that’s the loneliness of it all, the quiet hum of your engines as you warp from one planet to the next. That void, and the imagination fostered by the sheer scale and potential of what can exist amongst those billions and billions of stars, is part of the fun.
The game is vastly different these days, with Thargoids are an ongoing presence, long-established criminal groups roaming the galaxy, and all sorts of alliances and territory that has been captured and divvied up over time. Still, you should give it a try. Or as the excellent Raygun Brown put it:
The ambition and foresight held in the imagination of the scientists at NASA for the 2069 mission to Alpha Centauri is awesome. Like, I stand in awe of it. The necessary technology doesn’t exist in 2018 but they’ve already gone ahead and slotted in a date in the belief that once the calendar flips over to fifty-one years from now, we will have come up with a viable solution to make it happen. Will it be faster than light travel? A wormhole generator? Some kind of intergalactic Uber?
Whatever we eventually create, this faith in the importance of discovery and exploration of our tiny corner of the cosmic neighbourhood is almost as inspiring as the universe itself. To throw ourselves out into the darkness of space with very little concrete information about what we’ll find.
This kind of raw enthusiasm for everything that exists beyond our own planet is one of the main reasons everybody should play Elite Dangerous.
Sometimes, it’s good just to be excited for the prospect of what lies beyond. Especially since we won’t be seeing Squadron 42 for at least another year. To grab Elite, simply head here or navigate through the Epic Games Store client.