The Elite Dangerous: Odyssey alpha is now open, kicking off the first of four content phases coming ahead of the expansion's launch.
The alpha is available to all lifetime expansion pass owners as well as players who pre-ordered the Odyssey Deluxe pack. It will run for several weeks leading to the expansion's final release later this spring, with each phase gradually introducing new features.
Phase one is officially live and focuses on basic activities and interactions. All alpha players will be locked to new Commanders in one star system for the time being "to maximize player interaction," and with spaceships disabled at this stage, you'll have to rely on the Apex Interstellar travel network to get around. Take the bus, basically. Still, alpha players will be able to buy new suits and weapons, and take on new activities "including salvage, collection, and delivery."
Phase two will spice things up with the new first-person combat, which represents a big change for Elite Dangerous. The straight-out-of-Doom Manticore Dominator combat suit will be unlocked, faction conflicts will be enabled, and players will get a 20-lightyear area to explore with their own ships. Missions will also be updated with trading and settlements to add some variety to exploration.
The size of the alpha map will expand to 50 lightyears in phase three, which will also add the "First Footfall" feature, letting players mark undiscovered planets by getting to them first. Phase four will close things out by letting players hop on their own Commanders and weave in features from the main game, including fleet carriers, SRVs, and other ships.
Elite Dangerous: Odyssey is now coming to consoles in fall 2021 following pandemic-related delays.