‘Trade. Fight. Explore. Take flight and experience life as a starship commander in the dangerous galaxy of the 34th century. Enter a massively-multiplayer full-scale recreation of the Milky Way with a small starship and a handful of credits, and join the ranks of the iconic Elite.’
Elite: Dangerous (E:D) is an immersive open-ended space simulation sandbox with a rather-steep learning curve. The game’s core strength is the first-class flight model that provides a high quality spacecraft piloting experience—especially in VR. E:D has heavy development focus on realism, employing actual physics from celestial mechanics to an advanced aerospatial spaceflight-model. This can make it hazardous and unforgiving for new pilots. A good pilot will in time develop strong starship power and thermal management as part of advanced piloting skills. With survivability and repair techniques down, a resilient Commander can emerge from skirmishes and go on to independently trek vast distances across the galaxy.
The background simulation (BGS)
This is server-hosted evolving galactic model that underpins the many game interactions. It’s core purpose is to form the framework to deliver on the game’s promise—in the words of Frontier Developments (FDev), that is:
The year is 3307 and humans have been exploring space for more than 1,300 years. Cheap and faster than light travel has enabled humanity to expand across the stars, building colonies, cities, stations and empires. This led to the rise of galactic superpowers: the Federation, Empire and Alliance. The galaxy’s vast wealth of minerals, water and life-bearing planets makes them wealthier every day. Such wealth of the major factions attracts powerful people who scheme daily to gain power.
To serve this end, ‘The BGS’ is the developer-hosted persistent live model of trade, faction states and power-relations across the galaxy. This is the continuously evolving interactive environment in which each player’s actions play out—whether playing in Open, Private Group or Solo game modes. Markets fluctuate based on supply-and-demand, and—whilst this is heavily curated by FDev—with a coordinated effort by a good-sized group of players, it is entirely possible to excerpt local influence on the evolving galactic political situation. See the late-game section on Player-factions for more.— Frontier Developments (FDev)
The Core Systems—aka ‘the Bubble‘—is a sphere of about 150 light years around Sol with 19,000 inhabited systems. This populated region is both where you start out and where powers compete for influence, resources, territory and control. The territorial volume is about 13.8 million cubic light years.
Powerplay in the bubble
“Powerplay” represents the machinations of powerful groups and leaders that strive to control inhabited space for their own agendas. At its heart, Powerplay is a battle for territory. Each Power attempts to expand into systems in The Bubble, extracting resources from them in order to pay for continued expansion and protect systems already being exploited. As commanders of space ships, players can pledge support to a power and carry out tasks for them in return for rewards and prestige. Refer to the late-game section on Powerplay and Pledging Allegiance.