The Distant Worlds Expedition has arrived at its destination... Dr Kaii and Erimus, the expedition organisers reflect on their massive undertaking.
You’ve arrived at Beagle Point, how does it feel to make it this far?
Dr. Kaii: I felt real exhaustion, deep in my bones, and arriving is like taking a hot bath and feeling all that exhaustion turn to relaxation and elation at the accomplishment. Knowing that hundreds of people made it with me is one of the best feelings of pride and satisfaction we can imagine.
What sort of vibe are you getting from the other explorers? Is there a real sense of community, celebration and achievement?
Dr. Kaii: Everyone is saying this has been the best gaming experience of their lives, and has transformed Elite in their eyes. I think that applies to people watching as much as taking part. The sense of community is awesome, people who had hardly spoken to anyone since starting now have a whole list of close friends they have done something incredible with, and those friendships will last forever. We are celebrating all week and loving it!
What were some of the highlights along the way? Are there any incredible events that stand out for you? What about incredible tragedies?
Dr. Kaii: The event at Sagittarius A* blew my mind. It was then that I realised what the fleet is truly capable of – working together to set records, not matter how complex. We set those records with style, and reached millions of people. It was then that I realised we were changing the nature of the game forever. Seeing all the creativity come out of the fleet, ideas, videos, even the groups – the Rock Rats have worked ridiculously hard, scouring 601 planets for materials to make jumponium diligently, and rescuing people along the way with the Fuel Rats, and even assisting an SRV-less Sidewinder to “catch” enough mats to reach Beagle Point – has been very touching.
Was there ever a point where you thought you might have to turn back?
Dr. Kaii: Never!
5 – How many people have arrived at Beagle Point this far, and how many more are yet to arrive?
Dr. Kaii: About 400 have arrived so far, and by June 5th I estimate up to 600 or even more will make it.
What was it that inspired you to arrange this massive undertaking?
Erimus: Even though I'd traveled out to the far rim last year, during the Distant Suns Expedition, I always wanted to return to Beagle Point one day. Dr Kaii had seen my Distant Suns video series during the early days of Elite Dangerous, and he was keen to do the trip with me. Once Horizons beta came along, and we saw a new aspect to exploration, we thought that a return to Beagle Point would be an interesting adventure as players could now land on and explore those distant worlds out there - seeing the galaxy from a perspective seldom few have. The trip was mentioned in a passing comment on the forums and a few players asked if they could tag along with Kaii and myself and it was suggested I posted a thread to see if anyone else wanted to come along too. We expected a handful of sign-ups.. but as of writing this over 1,300 pilots have been involved on this adventure at some point! From humble beginnings it became a massive undertaking.
What has been the highlight from the coverage? You’ve had some good press attention. What moment made you think, ‘wow! This is unexpectedly huge.’
Dr. Kaii: Well, the first big reality shock of that nature was the point where all of the major magazines emailed me asking for a write up. That’s when I realised this was huge – Kotaku, PC Gamer, RPS. But the icing on the cake was when Buzz Aldrin sent us his well wishes in an email after I contacted him. Like seriously, wow.
Are you looking forward to the trip home?
Dr. Kaii: Not at all, I don’t look forward to rushing home, all the while feeling the growing sense of emptiness creep in as it dawns on me it is all over. When you engage in something this big for 3 months, and your life is so full of purpose, when it is over I can imagine desperately trying to find things to do!
Erimus: I personally don't plan to return home with CMDR Kamzel any time soon, so I haven't made plans. I've made the trip to Beagle Point and back 4 times (including basecamp scouting trips for Distant Worlds), and the trip home is always the toughest - especially the first 40,000 LYs from Beagle Point to the Galactic Core when space madness hits home! So I plan to stick around and await the FGE Flotilla (a secondary Distant Worlds Fleet that is traveling at a slower pace across the galaxy). They arrive at Beagle Point on May 31st so I'll be out here to meet and greet them. After that I'm not sure about my plans - I have thought about making Kamzel become the Beagle Point hermit, a retired old explorer living out here on the galactic rim.
What’s next for the Distant Worlds Expedition? Are you forming a group to do more massive exploration trips, or is this a one off?
Erimus: Distant Worlds isn't really a group, its more a coming together of many player groups and individuals under one banner for one specific adventure. So there isn't a group being formed but we do have a fantastic community that has built up and is flourishing within the comms network that was set up for this expedition (over 700 members now, and growing). Its called FleetComm and is the Discord server we used for the Distant Worlds Fleet. FleetComm will live on after Distant Worlds and we hope it'll become a communication hub for explorers - a place where players can pitch their ideas for future expeditions and have hundreds, and eventually thousands, of explorers to interact with and share ideas and adventures with. As Distant Worlds 3302 winds down, the general feeling in the exploration community is that large scale expeditions are now the future, the enthusiasm and drive is there, and talk of an expedition into the Formidine Rift is gaining momentum on the FleetComm channels, so that is most likely going to be the next 'big one' - sometime this summer. And there is always a chance that Distant Worlds itself will become an annual pilgrimage out to Beagle Point... i.e. Distant Worlds 3303/4/5, and maybe one day... Distant Galaxies?
Dr. Kaii: There will be many more expeditions, some small, some huge, and all in the spirit of the Distant Worlds group. Distant Worlds 2, 3, 4, ... I’m in. Not necessarily to Beagle Point, but along another great adventure, perhaps testing out new mechanics or game elements as the come out too. Finding the most distant ELW and landing on it? Looking forward to that one, personally, whenever it is possible. I’d like to form a sub-faction in game with a home system, and a loose association, and FleetComm is taking care of the latter. Let’s see where things go.
Video Blog: http://www.distantworldsexpedition.com/
Launch video from January: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Drqm1ZNJrZM
Full version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dDsOFd5F0k
Stage 2 launch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fURJh_wbkMQ
Mass hyperspace jump: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0VXjifGiCo (see also Erimu’s vid above)
Good compilation video and official announcements before crossing the Abyss: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARc5gwRHyHA
101 instance record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfa6ktnuEdo
Launch video from Sag A* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biiSdshCLfg
High wake salute from Beagle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DCJ3qtQQgU
Mass flyby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5EaA1sIm_A
Also lots of great high quality footage from Erimus in his 6 part series: https://www.youtube.com/user/ErimusOne/videos
Galactic Tag Xtreme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naOSEW8Tn-Y
Great rally video highlight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xO7S3SG32M
Climbing 15km Mountain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmh_2zo0JBI
Whack a rat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I80qhpexi6U
Destruction Derby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBqhG8Sg97s
Obsidian Ant Distant Worlds Videos:
Climbing the mountain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE8Z-pKNX5I
Video story logs:
Shabooka’s series (the best non-official series): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=247EOMHHB18&list=PL-HHOvuyoipcRMZ-d7i4EdkUrUHCSEf1G
GameDev Byrne’s series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqRU_EL4pwOFlHeODgL3xQOA1wS1e9U-Z
Salomé’s message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntZlErB3gjY
Rescue of Frawd Digger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn0kfM0HA-s
Fuel Rat rescue: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=150703
Fleet Progress Trackers:
EDSM Maps and trackers: http://www.edsm.net/expeditions/map/id/Distant-Worlds-2016
Wasp Radio: http://waspradio.playtheradio.com/index.cfm
Main discussion: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=198085
Galactic Mapping Project: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=116450
Prospectors (Rock Rats) Public Service: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=236381
Prospector’s guide to the galaxy: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=207098
Prospecting Central: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=228645
Photo Gallery: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=222490
Sag a* record setting thread: https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=233521&p=3586905#post3586905
In the media:
PC Gamer: http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-50-elite-cmdrs-make-synchronous-hyperspace-jump/
Euro Gamer: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2016-02-19-watch-a-massive-elite-dangerous-fleet-jump-into-hyperspace
Rock Paper Shotgun: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/02/23/watch-a-huge-elite-dangerous-fleet-enter-hyperspace/
The image that got 2 million views and hit #1 on page one of /r/all for 12 hours and /r/gaming for a couple of days: https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/46lznd/50_out_of_53_starships_hyperjumping_from_the/