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Elite: Dangerous ramps up its beta on Sept. 30

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Elite: Dangerous will implement a second phase of its beta on Sept. 30, introducing another 500 star systems for exploration, detailed maps of them, and slew of other upgrades both great and small.

Beta access to the game is available right now for $60, which also offers the "Mercenary Edition" announced for the game last week. That includes a full version of Elite: Dangerous (whose formal launch date has not been announced), so getting in at this level essentially pre-orders the game. Those who backed Elite: Dangerous in its crowdfunding stage receive a discount on the purchase.

Beta 2 introduces combat ratings that span "harmless" to "elite," which influence the attitudes and prices offered to you in the space combat sim. Additional simulator tutorials, more music, and different planetary ring types (pictured) also have been added. Other features include:

  • Ability to discover and explore and scan new systems and sell the data on them.
  • Detailed system maps.
  • Around 500 additional star systems to explore.
  • Lakon Asp Explorer ships added.
  • Much greater variety of upgradable Life Support modules, Engines, Hyperdrives, Power Distributors, Sensors, Shield Generators and Cargo Racks for all ships.
  • Ships are subject to gradual ‘wear and tear'.
  • New weapons including mines and a new non-lethal missile-deployed cargo hatch disruptor for piracy.
  • Outposts (small, exposed ‘roadside café' stations in remote locations) - Occelus starports, a version of which can move around for early civilization of new systems and space tourism.
  • Visibility of other ships in supercruise, and track others through supercruise and hyperspace.
  • Newsfeeds about events from the rest of the galaxy and player activity in your local system.
  • All backers names (from the appropriate crowd-funding reward tiers) have been added to the NPC naming database.

Crowd-funded at more than $2.6 million, Elite: Dangerous will launch on Mac and Windows PC. Fontier Developments boss David Braben has said the studio is open to the idea of releasing the game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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