After successfully proving out the moment to moment combat gameplay, and multiplayer technology in Alpha phases one and two respectively, phase three starts to move towards building out the game by adding docking, an early version of hyperspace jumps between multiple locations and ship outfitting within an iconic Coriolis space station.
Once successfully docked in the station -- a notoriously difficult skill to master in the original Elite -- Elite: Dangerous Alpha phase three offers progression where players can use their honest profit or ill-gotten gains from their in-game actions to improve their ship.
Ship upgrades include modules such as heat sinks and cargo scanners, a variety of weapons, and extend to the repair of any damage sustained in combat. They can also clear bounties and, once they have earned enough credits, even purchase a firm favourite from the Falcon de Lacy shipyards, and one of the most notorious ships in the galaxy -- the Cobra Mk III.
The consequences of combat now also have a price, with repairs being cheaper than buying a new ship players will need to make split second decisions on when pull back from battle.
The Alpha program can be joined now via the Elite: Dangerous online store at http://elite.frontier.co.uk