Does Elite: Dangerous' Open World Take Open Worlds Too Far?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

Does Elite: Dangerous' Open World Take Open Worlds Too Far?

Open world games are often a lot of fun, with half the joy of such experiences being the ability to wander about the world at will, finding strange new things and having strange new experiences. But “Elite: Dangerous” might well have taken a good thing a bit too far, as new reports have emerged saying just how big the game's world actually is.

“Elite: Dangerous” takes place not so much in a world, or even in a solar system, but rather in a galaxy. More specifically, it's a faithful one-to-one recreation of the entire Milky Way galaxy, which represents fully—get this—400 billion star systems. That is, of course, a whole lot of star systems to visit and trade in and fight over, and a lot of time will be spent in their mapping. Indeed, there are incentives—both in-game and out—for exploring on a massive scale, and the players are taking the task well in hand. Indeed, reports suggest that players are visiting 17,585 star systems every day, which means a whole lot of exploration going on. But even at that rate, it's still going to take players a combined total of 150,895 years to map it all out.

That's led to some unusual out-of-game rewards as well. The first player to become Elite in exploration gets $1,500 cash. The first Elite for exploration and combat together, likewise. And for all three available statuses, well, that's worth not $1,500 but rather $15,000. But it's the numbers that beg the question here: is this world just a bit too open?

One thing we all know is that, these days, many of the core gamers of the nineties and early 2000s are at the point now where they have jobs and families, sometimes both. A game with that kind of expansiveness might have been great when said gamers were teenagers and able to commit most of a summer vacation to roaming the star lanes, but now, it might just be a bit too open. Before, open world games gave us a city, or a chunk of a state. The Capitol Wasteland of Fallout 3 gave us a chunk of the D.C area. But an entire star system? How long will this go on before gamers just give up and say, no mas, and go on to the next game?

I hate to suggest that any open world might be a bit too open, but in this case, it could be so. I'm all in favor of an open world, but let's stick to a world rather than to a star system. Or failing that, at least a 40-odd world star system like “Master of Orion” or “Star Control” used to do. Exploration is great, but let's at least make exploration doable.

Featured Events