Today’s newsletter for Elite: Dangerous contains a few more details about the Engineers who’ll be present in the Horizon expansion of the same name. Specifically, it names a few of them, and talks a bit about how their crafting systems will work.
First of all, gaining the trust and expertise of any of the Engineers requires that you have a friendly relationship with them. They all have different backgrounds, interests, and political leanings. One, for example, is known as ‘The Dweller’ and is “renowned for custom modifications for local criminal elements”. If your commander is too much of an Elite: Dangerous goodie-two-shoes, The Dweller probably isn’t going to be interested.
If you pass the requirement test, a given Engineer will invite you to their base. You’ll then have to complete an initial contract to secure further services. The example given here is of Liz Ryder, an Engineer with a potentially unhealthy love for explosives. Before she’ll help you out, she might require more land mines to add to her collection. The contract won’t always be physical items, it could “also take a more intangible form like combat or bounty bonds”.
Once these steps have been passed, players can use Engineers to craft new modules for their ships. Each one will have individual specialties, but will also provide more basic upgrades too.
Upgrades have five different tiers, and access to the higher ones will only be possible once your reputation with the Engineer reaches a specific point. Every upgrade tier has a corresponding blueprint with the necessary items the Engineer will need to complete the module. Said blueprint also “defines the changes that will be applied to the weapon or module being modified”. There will be both positive and negative consequences, and the Engineer’s talents are described as more “black arts” than sciences.
Basically, this stage will work a little bit like crafting in an ARPG, with randomised percentage boosts to the specific module you’re making; and the chance to try making it again for a different result (if you have the items for it).
The Elite: Dangerous Engineers beta will begin in the week beginning 8 May, with a full release to follow. The Engineers update is part of the Horizons expansion.