Elite: Dangerous is a bit of a polarizing game. It contains a truly wast and immersive universe to explore, and more importantly, some great gameplay mechanics to make all of that space-trucking a rather enjoyable experience... so what exactly is the issue here? Well, Elite: Dangerous suffers from a severe lack of content, and even after playing for a short while you are most likely going to start realizing how shallow the universe really is and how much grinding is required before you get anywhere.
Thankfully, the developers do seem to be aware of all these complaints as they have announced a whole bunch of new features and quality of life changes during this year's Gamescom. If you're interested in an obscenely detailed look into all of them, you'll find a playlist of developer videos right below. On the other hand, if you're without an hour to spare I'll also include a brief summary:
Before I go on, do keep in mind that while the majority of these changes will be available for the base version of Elite: Dangerous, some of them are exclusive to the Horizons Season Pack. With that said, let's briefly go over what's coming to Elite: Dangerous in the near future:
• Passenger Contracts - If you're tired of constantly acting like a space-trucker, you'll soon have the chance to accept passenger contracts and finally achieve your life-long fantasy of being a taxi driver in space instead!
• New ship: The Beluga - The Beluga is one of the largest ships in the game, and more importantly, a specialized passenger liner outfitted with everything you'll need to accommodate your lively "cargo".
• VIP Contracts - if you're not a fan of transporting vast amounts of people, you can also take on VIP contracts that require you to transport important (and often very rich) individuals. While these jobs will pay extremely well, its important to note that VIP folks tend to have some... outlandish requests you'll need to fulfill along the way.
• New sites of importance - 100 new points of interest are being added. You can visit them, marvel in their glory, and then scan them for a sizable reward at any nearby starport.
• Better route plotting - You will soon be able to make your route plotter only pick out stars you're able to profit from, all depending on the filters you've set up.
• Carrier has arrived - Some of the larger ships can be fitted with ship hangars, allowing them to construct and deploy single seat fighters.
• Hire fighter pilots - Given that Starcraft has shown everyone that the average lifespan of fighter pilots is 10 seconds, the devs were smart enough to give the player an option to hire previously trained pilots instead.
• Starports are getting a visual upgrade - The idea behind this change is to differentiate the various starports depending on the sort of role they play.
• SIN broker - The SIN broker is a service you can access in low security systems to pay off fines, claim bounties and hand in combat bonds that relate to any system, not just the one you're in.
• Prettier hyperspace - The star you're heading towards will continuously grow larger as you travel through hyperspace.
• Transfer modules and ships - Just as you would imagine, you will soon be able to transfer your modules and ships across systems for a certain fee.
• Numerous other cosmetic and quality of life changes
If all of this has piqued your interest, you can learn more these changes by heading over here. As for the release date, I'm afraid I currently have no idea, but given how openly the developers are discussing these changes I think its safe to assume its all coming in the near future.