Krait 2 is a Python, but better. Well, it’s got one fewer C6 internal, so 64 tons less cargo capacity, and it has a slightly lower health and shield pool, but in every other respect it’s an upgrade. It’s faster, more agile, has the same hardpoints but with better placement (very tight dorsal C3s, ventral C2s either side of the cockpit, with a firing arc that can reach the top of the screen at max FoV), and a fighter bay. Immune to Diplomacy has already racked up a few pirate kills in test flights, and I haven’t even settled on a loadout for it yet, I just copied the Python’s modules over (same size slots everywhere). It’s also a less conspicuous ship, conspicuousness being one of Elite’s many hidden mechanics the game never even hints towards unless you go out of your way to research NPC behaviour. It basically means police are less likely to deem you worth scanning.
The Challenger is, well, a better Federal line ship than the actual Federal line. Notice a theme, by the way? The Alliance ships are all named after WW2 British cruiser tanks (including the next one, the Crusader - FD accidentally leaked the name, along with the Krait Phantom). Anyway, it’s slower than the Chieftain, swaps one large hardpoint for two extra medium hardpoints (for “fucking hell what” amounts of dakka all coming out of roughly the same spot), is a bit less agile and considerably slower but has a few extra internal modules and stronger hull and shields. It’s all right. Good somewhat multi-role ship, kind of competes with the Python though with considerably less versatility. The Glasgow Kisser has been loaded for SAR and anti-Thargoid work and shipped off to an imperial system near Deciat, which is currently getting hammered by the Thargoids.
As for the other new stuff, I happened to have the materials needed for the FSD booster, and it’s pretty good. It’s an internal module, weirdly, and gives increasing bonuses as the size gets bigger, topping out at about 10.5 ly extra range at C5 (it’s a flat boost). It also doesn’t quite work with other FSD boost methods (synthesis and jet cones), so the maximum range isn’t quite as great as it looks. I’m at the Guardian ruins now, getting some extra data for the new C3 Guardian weapons (only the shard cannon and plasma charger, sadly, no C3 railguns for us). The blueprint requirements have been dropped to 1-2 per tech, so it’s considerably less grindy now (though certain modules still require a bit of obelisk grinding).
There isn’t a lot in this update, but I can’t really begrudge that since it’s clear Elite is currently in a holding pattern while the Q4 update gets under way, and that looks massive. The new mining mechanics alone look brilliant, and while the exploration hasn’t been fully detailed, FD have let slip that we will be getting proper exploration probes, ME2 style (but with some KSP-lite orbital mechanics as the main skill-based mechanic for increasing efficiency). More importantly, they’ve also let slip that the USS and PoI systems are getting nuked completely and replaced with more deterministic systems. I can’t express how happy I am about that. But we’re still not getting any comets, which have honestly become Elite exploration’s version of the “Ridley is too big for Smash Bros” meme.