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Elite Dangerous' latest update gets off to a rocky start

Sim failure sparks galaxy rollback as bugs kick in.

This week Frontier pushed out the long-awaited 2.3 update for Elite Dangerous (the one that adds the Multi-Crew feature), and it got off to a rocky start, with a raft of bugs reported by players.

The update caused a galaxy-wide sim failure, with huge influence swings in systems that made the work players had put in pointless.

In Elite Dangerous, influence is a way for factions to have or gain control over a system. The factions within a system all share the influence in percentages, and it's this percentage that players can work to change by completing missions, trading, turning in bounty vouchers and selling exploration data.

After the update was released on Tuesday, players noticed huge player faction percentage drops seemingly without explanation.

Here's one report from player Jakspratt, who told of how the swings had affected his group:

  • I am a member of the Sovereign Justice Collective (SJC) and our Faction is currently engaged in a Civil War to win back control of Phiagre and Greebsoski's Outpost. The War was at the stage where a change of asset would take place after today's tick (and in this case control of the system).
  • At yesterday's tick the SJC was at 59.7 per cent and the opposition United Phiagre Independants (UPI) was at 21.5 per cent. Fully expecting our takeover of the system following today's tick, we were flabbergasted to see that according to the Gal Map SJC has dropped to 1 per cent and the UPI have risen to 66 per cent.
  • This means that in a period where the server was down for eight hours, the SJC have fallen by 58 per cent and the UPI have risen by 45 per cent. That is a swing of over 100 per cent and is utterly incomprehensible. We had over 30 CMDRs working on this up to yesterday and our own belief is that a faction could move no more than around 10-15 per cent in a tick period. These moves could not be supported by normal play and must be as a result of the update being issued.
  • In order not to alienate the 100s of players in our faction, we request that the situation be corrected. By rights, at this day we should have taken Greeboski's outpost and control of the system - instead we have lost Sopheos and are now down at 1 per cent - how could this possible happen under normal BGS circumstances? This is a travesty and needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

That doesn't sound good, does it? In response to player complaints, Frontier acknowledged the bug, calling it a "significant error" with the background sim data, and announced a plan to roll back the galaxy to a pre 2.3 state. Unfortunately, this meant that player efforts made on 2.3 launch night did not affect the simulation.

"We wanted to give you as much notice as possible so you can avoid any wasted efforts," head of community Zac Antonaci said in a post on the Elite Dangerous forum.

That's not the only post-2.3 bug found by players. Some Xbox One players encountered a troublesome lockout bug that causes the menu text to disappear and the game to move no further, leaving you looking at the Surface Recon Vehicles (SRV) and station background after leaving a multiplayer session.

Frontier has suggested a workaround and apologised for the bug. Here's the statement:

"Thank you so much for your continued patience, we are hugely appreciative of the input and feedback and very sorry that such an issue occurred on day one for so many of you. We'll continue working toward a full solution and assurances that similar issues are prevented in the future."

And here's another bug - although this one is kind of cool. It turns out Packhound launchers have infinite ammo and no heat generation when fired by crewmates. It means you can get spectacular space missile effects as seen in the video below, but it's not particular fair if you're on the receiving end.

The raft of bugs have got some players wondering about the extensive beta period for the 2.3 update, and there's a general sense of disappointment within the community that things are not working as they should from launch.

But it's important to note a lot of players are having fun with Elite Dangerous' new features. Loading times are much improved, the Holo-Me commander creator has gone down well, and the new camera suite does what it set out to do.

Here's hoping Frontier can get to work on those bugs sooner rather than later.

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