News Content Recap: Beyond - Chapter Four Livestream - Background Simulation and Scenarios

Will Flanagan

Product Manager
Greetings Commanders,

If you missed tonight's content reveal livestream or just wanted a recap of all the features discussed, read the notes below from Executive Producer Adam Woods and Senior Designer Adam Bourke-Waite.


Please note this is part two of four livestreams, for more details click here.

BGS (Background Simulation) Changes

The Background Simulation (BGS) is a representation of how the actions of all players, no matter on which platform or mode, impact the galaxy. The factions that inhabit these system battle for influence over the population and control of the starports, installations and outposts. Player actions can push these factions into various states; such as economy, security, health and influence. With concerted effort players can help grow a faction's economy, destroy its security status, or help win a war.

As part of Beyond - Chapter Four, we're making a few changes to the Background Simulation that will have a big effect on how you will manage and spread your faction's influence across the Milky Way.

Multiple States

  • From Beyond - Chapter Four onwards, factions will no longer be limited to a single state. Instead a faction could be in multiple states per system.
  • For example, rather than being in 'War' across all of the systems the faction is present in, the faction will only be at war in the single system in which the war is taking place.
  • This new change means that the faction can also be in several different states at the same time. A faction could be in many different states, such as Bust and Civil Unrest.
  • The Background Simulation is woven into the fabric of the galaxy, and so this change will impact everything from USS spawning to mission spawning. The systems your faction is present in may very well change up!
  • The addition of multiple states means that managing an intergalactic empire will come with increased challenges. In order to make this more manageable we’ve added additional feedback to the game that should make interacting with the Background Simulation easier to understand.
  • Part of this feedback includes how Local News works. We've expanded the faction summary news article, so that each faction has their own individual article which informs players of the states currently active in that system.

State Categories

We've broken a number of faction states into the following categories:

  • Economic status - reflects the wealth of a system.
  • Security status - reflects the safety of a system.
  • Conflict - based on the system influence and represents the control of the assets and population in a system.
  • Movement - based on influence and our new Happiness value these states determine the movement of a faction between systems.
  • Other - Anything not included in the above, and reserved for future states that we are not ready to talk about!
A faction can have one state from each of these categories active at a time in each of the systems it’s present in.

Please find a summary of most of the states that will be coming in the Beyond - Chapter Four update (this information will also be available in-game):

  • Lockdown - When a faction experiences a lockdown, the security rating of the system it controls temporarily increases and the system’s wealth temporarily decreases. Bounty hunting activity can shorten the lockdown period.
  • Boom - Boom is usually the result of consistent trade profit and completed trade contracts. When a faction experiences a boom, the wealth of the system it controls temporarily increases, and trade missions completed in the system have double the effect on influence.
  • Bust - When a faction experiences a bust, the wealth of the system it controls is temporarily reduced and the faction’s influence is temporarily diminished. Trade actions do not contribute to boom while a bust is active.
  • Civil War - Civil wars occur when factions compete for control of major assets, such as starports. When a faction is involved in a civil war, the standard of living, development level and security level in the system it controls are temporarily reduced.
  • Civil Unrest - Civil unrest is the result of illegal activity. When a faction is affected by civil unrest, the standard of living in the system it controls temporarily decreases, as does the system’s wealth.
  • Famine - When a faction is affected by famine, the standard of living in the system it controls temporarily decreases. Combat activity has no effect on influence while a famine is active. Completing food-related trade missions can help bring a famine to an end.
  • Outbreak - When a faction is affected by an outbreak, the standard of living in the system it controls temporarily decreases. Combat activity has no effect on influence while an outbreak is active. Completing medicine-supply missions can help bring an outbreak to an end.
  • Election - Elections occur when two factions with a similar political structure resolve a conflict over ownership and influence within a system.
  • War - Wars occur when a faction invades a star system controlled by another faction. For the duration of the war, the standard of living, wealth level and security level in the disputed systems are reduced. Combat activity between the two warring factions determines the outcome of the conflict. If neither faction succeeds in dominating the other, the war ends in a ceasefire.
  • Expansion - Expansions occur when a faction successfully maintains a degree of influence over a happy population for a specified period of time. Expansion is costly, so when a faction expands, the wealth and development level of the system it expands from are temporarily reduced.
  • Retreat - Factions are considered to be in retreat if their level of influence within a system drops below a certain level. If the faction’s influence remains low for a total of five days, the faction must leave the system entirely. If the faction manages to increase its level of influence, it remains in the system.
  • Civil Liberty - The faction is enjoying a period of stability within this system, resulting in widespread happiness among the local population. Bounty hunting activity can help sustain the civil liberty period.
  • Investment - The faction is enjoying a period of economic good fortune within this system, resulting in widespread happiness among the local population. Trade activity can help sustain the investment period.

Economy and Security

  • For Economy and Security states we’ve added two new player-facing elements:
  • Security Status - represented via a marker moving along a bar. As the marker enters certain sections of the bar, the faction moves into the related state.
  • Economic Status - also represented via a marker moving along a bar. As the marker enters certain sections of the bar, the faction moves into the related state.
  • Both can be found on your right-hand status panel and also in the Squadrons Allegiance page (which we will be talking about in the Squadrons livestream).
  • As Commanders perform various in-game actions and activities, such as trading or completing missions, they will push the marker along one of these Security and Economic bars.
  • Each area on the bar represents different states and when the marker reaches these areas, the faction will adopt that state.
  • The center of each bar is a 'no state' region which represents a neutral state.
  • As the marker on the Economic bar is pushed upwards, the faction can move into Boom and then Investment. The other end of the Economic bar consists of Bust and eventually... Famine.
  • The Security bar consists of Lockdown, Civil Unrest, and a new state called Civil Liberty on the positive end. Civil Liberty represents a period of safety and freedom for the faction's population.

Conflict and Movement

  • Movement states are based on Influence and work in a very similar way to how they did previously.
  • For example, if a faction loses the majority of its influence, it can enter into a Retreat state.
  • Conflict states trigger in the same way but winning a conflict has changed. This is explained in greater detail below.

Conflict changes

  • Wars, Civil Wars and Elections will now freeze the influence of both factions involved.
  • The conflict between the two factions will be resolved weekly, following a process of winning victories on a daily basis.
  • To claim a victory, players need to complete relevant missions handed out by their faction and take part in the newly revamped Conflict Zones.
  • You can find information on how your faction is doing during the war, and the assets it has on the line, in the status panel.
  • This information can also be found in the Squadrons Allegiance page.
  • At the end of a week, the side that has won the most days wins the war!


The new States have also influenced the way in which Expansion works.

  • Expansion is a faction-wide concept and takes the following into consideration:
  • The percentage of Influence of the faction per system.
  • The Happiness of the faction within that same system.
  • Happiness is a new concept and is based on the states that are active within that system.
  • For example: a faction that has Civil Unrest, War and Bust occurring is not going to be the happiest, while a faction experiencing Civil Liberty and Boom will be much happier.
  • To increase your faction's happiness, you need to defeat negative states and push your faction towards positive ones.
  • Large factions, with lots of influence across many happy systems will be more likely to gain the Expansion state.
  • A faction in Expansion after a certain amount of time will attempt to expand from the happiest system that faction is present in. Therefore, you will be better able to coordinate your expansion efforts to ensure which system you want to expand from.

It's worth noting that some of the gargantuan factions, led by a handful of people, will need to scale up their group in order to manage their existing holdings. With these changes, maintaining widespread factions will pose an added challenge, but we've introduced improved in-game BGS feedback to help coordinate your group's efforts.


  • There are chaotic and unpredictable states that can occur. These states, much like the real-world parallels, are out of your control. One of these states is Outbreak, a faction in outbreak will suffer negative economic and security effects, as well as many of the faction's population becoming unhappy.
  • Further information on all the factions' active states can be found in the right-hand panel.

Megaship and Installation Population

For Beyond - Chapter Four, we've introduced a vast number of new Megaships and Installations.

  • Some of these Megaships will have set routes (moving on the weekly tick) and when in a new system, will be under the protection of the controlling faction.
  • If a Megaship jumps into your faction's system, you should look after it because if it is attacked, your faction will feel negative Background Simulation effects.
  • Installations have also been added. These are static assets that once assigned to a faction can be fought over during conflict states.


Scenarios are new and enhanced versions of the Unidentified Signal Sources (USS) and fixed events that you may already have encountered. They are random events that can occur across the galaxy, providing you with additional opportunities to blaze your own trail the way you want to.

  • Each Scenario is fully voice-acted, by a range of different actors.
  • They feature bespoke UI, providing you information on what you need to do to engage with a Scenario and the rewards you will receive for doing so.
  • There are specific Background Simulation (BGS) rewards for successfully completing a Scenario; such as increasing the security status of the faction involved.
  • Some of the new and enhanced Scenarios include:
  • Assisting distressed or stranded pilots.
  • Engaging with new, fluctuating objectives in the new and improved Conflict Zones.
  • Attacking or defending Megaships and Installations.
  • Providing aid and assistance to damaged Megaships.
  • ...and more!


If you missed our recap on Exploration, the Codex and Visual Improvements, check the thread out here.

Robert Maynard

Volunteer Moderator
Splendidly swift posting of the recap, following a rather good stream!

Thanks Will (and AW & ABW - and The Team!)! :)
what a great live stream. I LOVE the format of these so much more than the previous ones. Will and the Adams are awesome! I love how they treat their audience like customers.

....and I didn't have to once hear "BOYYEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

those are great changes and I'm looking forward to trying them out (and this is coming from someone who has been burning out since 2.3). I only hope that the proposed changes are not undone by the minority "live to grind, grind to live" players.

looks like the end of endless CZ grind, replaced by objectives!

when you said you were making changes for the "long term health" of the game, you weren't kidding. about an official PVE mode and another C+P rework?
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Really loving the objective based gameplay. Now if we could only see our attackers during that objective based game play. It would be amazing.

Really cool stuff though.
Very cool. I like the BGS changes overall, not sure "happiness" is necessarily the right word to use, but I don't have a suggestion for an alternative.


Volunteer Moderator
Another great stream, and great to see the summary up so quickly. Huge thanks to all the team.
Really loving the objective based gameplay. Now if we could only see our attackers during that objective based game play. It would be amazing.

Really cool stuff though.
Wouldn't it be more interested if it was more meaningful? eg: A faction's mission/task to go and assault another faction's mega ship?

Wouldn't it be more interesting if it was more involved? eg: You were assigned a Wing of NPCs who you could give basic tactical commands to (attack this/defend that)?

As it stands, it's just another bolted on mini-game mechanic at almost a loose end. eg: Who's really going to participate in these? How often? Why?

And this was underlined in the livestream with, Yes, if another CMDRs was there they could sign up against you... Why would that ever happen unless the game orchestrates this via some joined up meaningful mechanics? eg: One Faction being told to attack a mega-ship, while another is told to defend it? And the game orchestrates this to facilitate meaningful PvP if that's what players are after. And God forbid Powerplay should try this, an obvious candidate to orchestrate PvP for those interested!

And of course conflict zones underline it too. Arrive in the mini-game and choose your side. It's as inconsequential as that. Surely with a war there should be more involvement than that? Surely your choice to fight for a side should mean more than the time until you next press "J" to jump out of the mini-game?

But as it is, we're 4yrs in and seeing baby steps of bolted on mechanics which even games from 20+ years ago trumped.

I wasn't expecting much from tonight, and Distress Calls to fly off and fetch something from somewhere else, to return it back to an NPC who simply won't care at all and will never join up with anything else, sort of sums it up...

I enjoyed the exploration changes. Any my big hopes for some really meaningful improvements are with mining now...
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I wasn't expecting much from tonight, and Distress Calls to fly off and fetch something from somewhere else, to return it back to an NPC who simply won't care at all and will never join up with anything else, sort of sums it up...

Strange, the summary in the first post is significantly more involved than that.
Really nice changes Frontier. Would be great if Nav beacons and Res sites could have the odd side objectives.

The other Adam: "But more importantly than that, it represents how player's actions represent the world around them. We're talking about actions from players no matter what platform, or mode they're on"
Adam: "Yeah"
Adam & Will nodding
The other Adam: "It's all part of one shared galaxy, which is something amazing, in the same way we're doing things with exploration [...] every one is part of Elite is part of the same shared world"
Will: "Yes"
The other Adam: "And that I think is a really special part of our game"

Those who have checked out of Hotel California will now be allowed to leave. :)
So what I loved:

* NPC comms - finally something resembling dialog choices is here. Really excited!
* Voiced NPCs - worried it won't get repeated too much. Hopefully you can use some of voice synth there as well!
* Seems NPC lines are also updated and cleaned up. Hopefully pirates will be more colourful as well :)
* Really loved faction panel visual look and well explained states;
* BGS revisited / redesigned - did not expect that, huge thumbs up. Also war made more specific, good;
* Small detail but I loved how lights went out on mega ship. Well done!

* Will you be able to use voice synth tech in future to even increase variety of NPC voices?
* Can stations could have scenarios happening very close to them?
Initial Concerns:

- It looks like having a Megaship arrive in your system will be huge liability. "Look after it" will be impossible if you're a player faction in a conflict with another player faction; the other side can simply come in and blow it up from their own Private Group or Solo instances. To paraphrase a member of my playergroup: "If a megaship is in your system, you will lose a substantial amount of influence".

- Investment appears to be a different thing now; will the range of the Expansion state change? I remember Investment being just added to allow factions with few viable systems a means to Expand.

- Expansion based on happiness rather than "the system from which you hit >75% Influence" seems like it might be hard to maintain. Happiness is tied to resolving randomly-occuring states like Outbreak? I'd like to see this tested. One of my playergroups is currently planning a targeted expansion from a series of systems in turn, so possibly losing control of where & when we expand from could be bad.

- I like the idea of multiple wars at a time, simply because I've had to sit and gnash my teeth while my faction got caught up in a silly pointless war in a low-pop system for no assets. Glad to see that!
Yet here you are, complaining about it, as usual.

And here I am making suggestion, AS USUAL! ;) (If you think my comments are unfounded fair enough - eg: Are you really suggesting one Faction giving out tasks/missions to actively attack another Faction's mega ship wouldn't be more involving that randomly rocking up at a mega ship and choosing option (a) or (b)? :))

Criticism where it's due... Praise where it's due... Simple stuff!
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Awesomeness! Great job FD, I really like the new direction things are taking. I'm looking forward to the beta!
Some interesting changes with faction states but you failed to add (or show?) the most needed faction/system state change. A Thargoid attack/Xeno attack state needs to be added and it should override all other states. When your system is under attack by aliens, that is going to take precedence over everything else. Wedding barges and thargoids don't mix. Also having the NPCs in a system under attack by thargoids, completely oblivious to that fact is immersion breaking. How can you expect players to embrace the Thargoid content if the NPCs don't even acknowledge it. Please make this change. You obviously spent a lot of time on the continuity and integration of the new content but somehow missed this huge piece. Fortunately, its not too late and it should not be difficult to implement.
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