Frontier Developments have announced that Elite Dangerous' last major update in 2018 will initially be available for the owners of Elite Dangerous and Elite Dangerous: Horizons on 23 October 2018, when a staged beta will take place.
Elite Dangerous - Chapter four will bring major updates to several areas of the game, such as exploration, mining and squadrons. Players will new have a new Analysis Mode at their disposal, with improved Exploration Discovery Scanner and Detailed Discovery Scanner, These expanded options will allow players to tune their scanners after initially scanning a system, in order to find "stellar bodies and other phenomena".
Overall, the new systems should provide more information for the players, who will have easier time finding points of interest now. Unidentified signal sources and conflict zones are such events and places that will offer players a chance to spend their time more efficiently. On top of everything, players will now also have probes that they can launch onto planetary surfaces and rings in order to map them out and give them an easier time navigating unknown territory.
Mining will be touched upon as well, as players will get new tools and mechanics in this area. Using the aforementioned exploration mechanics, players will be able to locate and investigate rings seen in the header image, as well as the embedded video. The new mining tools will now allow them to create asteroid detonations, which can also be previewed in the trailer. Other than looking cool, the new system should allegedly "provide a fresh, exciting and lucrative mining experience".
Players will now have easier time grouping up due to addition of in-game chat channels and a new web portal, as well as Community Goals which will encourage them to play together in order to compete for the top spots in weekly leaderboards.
More on each of the new mechanics should be revealed in the coming days via developer livestreams. Exploration, Codex and visual improvements will be highlighted on 18 October 2018. BGS and scenario interactions changes will be broadcasted on 25 October 2018, Squadrons on 30 October 2018 and Mining on 01 November 2018. Each livestream will start at 19:00 BST, presumably on the official Frontier Developments channel.