In update 14, after Salvation's "gift" in HIP 22460 ended in the worst possible outcome, the Thargoids launched 8 Unidentified Interstellar Anomalies in retaliation towards human occupied space. The Thargoid now acknowledging the capabilities the human race can do.
Right now, the Unidentified Interstellar Anomalies has manifested itself into Thargoid Maelstroms, becoming the epicenter of Thargoid-occupied space and attacks in human systems.
The Thargoids are a spacefaring, territorial, insectoid species that are commonly found in nebulae areas with ammonia based life. Thargoid Scouts and Interceptors can be found in the regions of the Pleiades, Coal Sack and Witch Head Nebulae. They can also be found up tp 5000 light years from the human-occupied bubble. Thargoids have appeared to terrorize human occupied space in the past and the recent attack has pushed this to the 2nd Thargoid War.
ObsidanAnt has kindly created a four-part series documenting the alien story of Elite Dangerous.
Here are some of the locations that have Thargoid Lore attached onto them. All of these locations existed before the Azimuth Biochemicals Saga and Aftermath. Locations may change due to Odyssey.
A new map has been introduced in the Aftermath Saga in Update 14, called the Thargoid War Map. In this map, various systems have been controlled, attacked and invaded by huge Thargoid Forces. The War Map introduces 5 Thargoid BGS states:
Thargoid Maelstrom Systems are the epicenter of all Thargoid activities. Little is know about the Maelstrom Cloud, a huge caustic cloud believed to envelope a dormant Thargoid Hive ship located near a Ammonia World. Just like in HIP 22460, all guardian modules will become inoperable in this systems and aggressive Thargoid Hyperdictions and Interdictions will take place in this system.
Thargoid Forces now have the ability to interdict players from supercruise. All Thargoid Forces that successfully interdict players will become hostile and immediately start attacking the player. Usually a wing of 4 scouts or a single Cyclops Interceptor will interdict the player. Winning against a Thargoid Interdiction is extremely hard but not impossible, however it is highly recommended to submit to the interdiction and wake out again.
Just like interdictions, hyperdictions will also occur around these Thargoid Battlegrounds. Hyperdictions from all interceptors will be hostile and you don't need to worry about being shutdown by their shutdown field.
If you feel like an interceptor is gaining on you, instead of boosting away, you can easily put distance between yourself and it by boosting past the interceptor within close proximity (around 300 m or so). Thargoids interceptors have a top speed of 470 m/s, the Basilisk being the only interceptor to have a top speed of 530 m/s, however they are unable to turn.
If you're in a wing and happen to jump back to the system you were jumping from. That is called a "Failed Hyperdiction." Apparently in wings, the Hyperdiction cutscene will not play and therefore you will jump back to the system you were jumping from.
Since Thargoid Forces uses thermal-based tracking, it cannot interdict you or hyperdict you if you are under 20% heat. Therefore, if you are concerned about your ship being hyperdicted or interdicted by Thargoid Forces, pop a heat sink.
Little is known about the Maelstrom, but speculations believe that the Maelstrom contains a dormant Thargoid Hive Ship.
Maelstroms have an upper caustic cloud region and a lower caustic cloud region. The upper caustic cloud region contains Caustic Generators. These generators maintain and produce caustic clouds that envelope the area. Generators can be destroyed and Caustic Shards, Caustic Crystals and Corrosive Mechanism materials can be collected from it. Tissue samples can be collected from these generators but you have to stay cold. With these three materials you can unlock Caustic Sinks.
The lower caustic cloud region is a boundary that no one has yet to access. It has concentrated caustic damage that dissolves the hulls of ships and frequent Maelstrom EMP discharges from the center , pushing out CMDRs that ventured too deep.
Thargoid Controlled Systems are systems that are overrun and controlled by Thargoid Forces. Controlled systems can be overtaken by human forces assuming they kill enough interceptors to push Thargoid Forces out of the system.
Thargoid Controlled Systems that were once Human Occupied are all abandoned. Abandoned Stations and Settlements will not accept docking permissions or provide functionalities and services to the player. Thargoids Forces will continuously wake into the station to maintain control over it.
It is far easier to push back Thargoid Controlled systems that are not once human occupied.
Thargoid Invasion Systems are where the most intense Thargoid battles are taking place. You can find Anti Xeno Conflict Zones and Station Defense Conflict Zones here. Stations will also become damaged from Thargoid Attacks and Civilians will require rescue assistance. Damaged Stations will allow docking, and station services will be limited. The basic R/R/R service will be available. No Advanced Maintenance services will be made available to AX Forces defending the station from Thargoid attacks.
You can obtain rescue missions from attacked and damaged stations. You can also drop off escape pods, black boxes and tissue sample to help push back the Thargoid effort.
Thargoid Alert Systems, are systems put into Alert after Thargoid Forces have been detected to expand into the system. In systems with these alerts, evacuation orders have been placed and rescue missions are available to players keen to rescue civilians.
There are multiple Thargoid-related signal sources present in these systems. You can intercept and help along with the NPC's in these instances to help push back the system in Alert. Generally for the defensive frontlines, its better to wait for the System to be pushed into Invasion as fighting Thargoids around stations are a preferred defensive strategy preferred by many. It also allows the community to go into a Post-Thargoid recovery state that can last up to 4 weeks, providing that buffer to work on other systems.
The Orthrus Interceptor is a new passive Thargoid variant found only in Thargoid Alert Systems in Non-Human Signal Sources threat 4's with a Salvage Icon. It has no hearts, but has a shield and non-regenerative hull properties. It essentially is a Thargoid Interceptor with all of its hearts destroyed. The Orthrus will call for back up once it has been aggravated and will start to damage all Guardian modules and weapons over time until they become inoperable. Killing an Orthrus Variant Interceptor will yield the players 30 Million Credits in bonds.
Every system that has Thargoid Activities in them will have an informations tab that lets players know their progress on repelling the Thargoid Threat within a system. When the Thargoid Forces retreats from a system, all system infrastructure will be safe for recovery initiatives and efforts to take place. Repairing a station requires CMDRs to deliver commodities to the Station Market and therefore contributing to repairing the station. CMDRs can also take on Settlement Restoration missions to increase the speed of the recovery process.
If you want to learn more about station repairing initiatives, you may check out Operation IDA.
There exists a flow chart of all of the Thargoid War states and its progression.
There are various activities one can participate in the Thargoid War, you can help with collecting Thargoid research data for knowledge, rescue efforts and recovery initiatives, transporter for AX-related community goals, and being an AX enforcer.
If AX Combat is something that interests you but you do not have a ship prepared yet, the minimum engineered required ship you will need to have starting in AX Combat is:
This applies to both the Krait Mk 2, Alliance Chieftain and Alliance Challenger. Hull and Armour is not as important as you think as AX Combat revolves around evading damage while dealing damage and repairing loss of hull in between hearts. Cold Orbiting is an effective combat strategy when starting AX and is the backbone of how most AX activities are done.
The two weapons you should use to start in AX combat is the Guardian Gauss Cannons and Modified Guardian Shard Cannons.
Guardian Gauss Cannons are most effective in solo-runs as the Gauss Cannons are a rail gun dealing incredible hit-scan damage to the heart. It is easier to exert and snipe out a heart using Gauss Cannons.
Modified Guardian Shard Cannons are more effective in winged or group AXCZ fights as they have more ammo than Guardian Gauss Cannons. Since the weapons jitter are more focused than its normal Shard Cannon variant, it can just as easily exert and snipe out hearts. However it is generally recommended to use the Trailing Gun Sight for Modified Shard Cannon aiming to destroy a heart. This is an advanced mechanic recommended for those who understand basic Thargoid combat mechanics.
You can obtain Modified Guardian Shard Cannons at Prospect's Deep in Mbooni.