On September 2, those who have beta testing access to the PC version of Elite: Dangerous (through Kickstarter pledges, or the recently re-offered lifetime expansion pass) were invited to try out the highly anticipated CQC (Close Quarters Combat) arena combat mode.
The details of the CQC beta were explained in in a post by Zac Antonaci, head of community management at Frontier, along with a slew of other changes to the core of Elite: Dangerous. CQC will be free to all players of Elite: Dangerous when the 1.4 patch goes live.
CQC is an arena type mode that was previously exclusive to the Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous, and is billed as “the ultimate 34th century gladiatorial contest between Elite Dangerous pilots, thrusting players into intense PVP action.” Players equip their chosen spacecraft with a unique loadout, and can compete in various match styles including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag in arenas that supports up to 12 players. Each arena map and mode is currently slated to have a 15 minute timer per match.
In contrast to the main game, CQC is focused on smaller ships. Players have the option of piloting a Sidewinder (the traditional starter ship of Elite, and the tank of CQC), an Eagle (a light fighter), and the F63 Condor, which is unavailable in the main game. In the tradition of modern multiplayer shooters, players are able to unlock modules, weapons and abilities specific to this gameplay mode. CQC also includes a ranking feature. Levelling up unlocking new items, and ultimately allows players to reset their level in exchange for a prestige rank. In addition to increasing credit payout after CQC matches, a prestige rank grants access to the Attilius Orbital starport in CD-4311917 in Elite: Dangerous.
Power-ups are another new feature that add to the arcade feel of CQC, with most giving a temporary boost to one of the player’s attributes such as ship speed, shield strength and damage output. The fourth power-up comes in the form of a temporary stealth mode, which operates akin to Silent Running without the loss of shields or gaining heat.
So far, the CQC update has been met with praise. Comments such as “[..] all the fun, beauty and feeling of flying in elite, but with no stress of losing your ship or insurance. Tons of action, lots of maneuverability and an even playing field. It’s just nice,” and “Grats FD, this is hilarious and fun as hell, Really bodes well with elite.” are common. The biggest complaint so far is the lack of a match-wide chat channel in CQC, though this may be resolved before release. Many users have also commented that a racing mode would be a welcome addition.
The reactions in the beta forum haven’t been all positive. Many of the complaints are directed at the arcade-like nature of CQC, and its separate existence from the persistent universe of Elite: Dangerous. A number of users have also expressed their disappointment that the F63 Condor is exclusive to the game mode, though with its fragile armour and lack of a jump drive, its utility in the persistent universe is questionable at best.
Given Frontier’s history of relatively short beta periods before a live release, we should be expecting the live release of CQC and its accompanying patch on desktops in the next few weeks. CQC should provide a great way for players to hone their battle skill, and perhaps give them an edge the next time they are pulled out of supercruise.
UPDATE: Friend of the site Scott Manley has taken a look at CQC. His video has been embedded below.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Anehii.