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Elite: Dangerous fleet carriers enter beta testing next month, will cost billions of credits

The massive ships can be owned by a single commander

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A Fleet Carrior arcs over a snowy world, a dim blue star illuminating it from behind. Image: Frontier Developments
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Elite: Dangerous will finally be getting its Fleet Carriers, massive new starships capable of holding other large ships and traveling between star systems under their own power. Fleet carriers will enter beta testing April 7 on PC, with a second beta phase on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 beginning in May.

“The most expensive investment to date and costing 5,000,000,000 credits, Fleet Carriers are individually owned and contain 16 landing pads of varying sizes for other players to dock their starships in, with a galaxy-spanning jump range of 500 light years,” Frontier announced in a news release.

That kind of range will dramatically change how players travel the stars in Elite. A player-led expedition to Beagle Point, on the far side of the Milky Way Galaxy, took me four real-world months each way with a jump range of just over 50 light years. The same trip could theoretically take a fraction of the time with a Fleet Carrier.

Frontier says a new power source called Tritium will be required to move the ships, and how that will play into long range travel is unknown.

Frontier adds that Fleet Carriers will be customizable, with repair docks, refueling stations, shipyards and more. They can also set tariffs on trade goods, further fleshing out the game’s complex economic systems.

More information will be announced during a Frontier livestream on April 2 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

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