There were sad space-faces last month when Frontier Developments announced it would be giving Elite Dangerous' long-overdue Fleet Carriers another six month delay. The silver lining to that particular cloud of woe, however, was that Fleet Carriers were being sidelined in favour of some much-needed bug fixes - and the first of these are now confirmed to be arriving in January.
Frontier's reprioritisation plans were unveiled following the extremely rocky launch of Elite Dangerous' September update. While its headline features - including a new tutorial experience, livery system improvements, and the new ARX premium currency were all present and correct - the update also introduced a number of serious issues.
Problems persisted, despite a series of patches and fixes, and Frontier eventually made the decision to suspend its immediate content plans, announcing that all updates into 2020 would "focus almost exclusively on addressing recent and longstanding issues". Now, the developer has revealed that the first of these updates will arrive "toward the end of January".
According to community manager Stephen Benedetti, the goal of the update is to ensure all players can enjoy "a seamless experience". To that end, it will focus on resolving "game breaking bugs and stability issues that cause disconnects, softlocks and crashes."
Frontier's announcement post lists all issues the developer is hoping to address in its January update, including broken galaxy map functionality, unintended instance splitting, long delays when scanning, Conflict Zones lacking content, and more. The developer also highlights a number of areas it will be investigating with an eye for fixes in future updates.
As previously announced, in order to ensure that January's patch is as robust as possible, Frontier will be holding a period of beta testing to gather feedback from players. This will run from 27th November until 2nd December and is open to anyone on PC. To participate, players simply need to select the 'Elite Dangerous: January Update (Beta)' option from the official launcher when the testing period begins.
"We just want to thank you once again for all the passion and involvement you show for Elite Dangerous," Frontier's post concluded, "With your participation, we know that we can help to make our game more sustainable and beneficial for the future of this amazing galaxy!".
Alongside work on bug fixes and the currently delayed Fleet Carriers, Frontier is preparing Elite Dangerous' mysterious next "major milestone" update for release in the latter half of next year. The developer has called the project "a defining moment in the history of the game".