The latest beta for Frontier’s Elite Dangerous released just a few short days ago. Over on PC, with console betas coming in the near future, players have been getting to grips with the long awaited Fleet Carriers.
Fleet Carriers themselves have been relatively contentious, and could fill an entire article by themselves. However, eagle eyed commanders have spotted an option separate from carriers which has me very excited – In Game CQC Matchmaking.
In honesty, this was included within Frontier’s patch notes, but seems to have been overlooked by most (including myself!). Almost since the Horizons expansion launched, CMDRs have been requesting an in game system for CQC queuing.
If you’ve not played CQC before, you’re missing out on a real treat. While player numbers have always made matchmaking difficult, our weekly CQC event on Xb1 was always well attended and enjoyed. Taking a small ship (Sidewinder, Eagle, Condor, Taipan or Imperial Fighter) with a selection of customisable loadouts, CQC is as close as you’ll get to COD style close quarters combat.
Fighting around different installations and environments, players can take part in three familiar game modes. In Capture the flag you must grab an enemy beacon, complete with trailing light, and bring it home. Deathmatch and Team deathmatch see you vying for the most kills, either on your own or as part of a small wing.
The main problem when it comes to CQC, has always been player count. Outside organised events such as CQC Tuesday, it has historically been very hard to get into a match. this has of course, in turn lowered player takeup of the game mode. Of course as player numbers dropped lower, matchmaking became even harder, causing a vicious cycle and making it a real challenge to get in game for CQC action.
In order to join a match, players currently launch a separate game mode from the title screen, select a match and wait while a game is found. With it sometimes taking five or ten minutes on a good day, it’s easy to understand why players would give this a miss, and instead skip straight to whatever they were doing in game.
Thanks to this new long requested development, it looks like we may finally have the answer. The new matchmaking options, present in the beta are accessible from the Communications Menu. This allows players to matchmake in game, leaving them free to play until a match is found.
One Possible Future
This option is great to see in itself. But it also makes me hopeful that Frontier may be turning attention back to one of Elite’s great, if forgotten features. It would be wonderful to see new arenas, ships, weapons and game modes if possible. While nothing has been announced or even hinted at other than the in game matchmaking, the fact that it remains unforgotten at Frontier is, for me, a great beacon of hope.