Not convinced by space trucking (opens in new tab)? Put off by the risk of loss while out and about on the final frontier? Well, Frontier (the game developer, this time) hopes to coax you in with the £5/$7.49 Elite Dangerous: Arena, out now on Steam (opens in new tab) and the Frontier store (opens in new tab).
Arena is Elite Dangerous' Close Quarter Combat mode stripped out and repackaged as a standalone—so if you already own Elite Dangerous (opens in new tab), don't buy this. If you don't, CQC is a dog-fighting module in which you battle it out using Elite's ships in timed arenas for the sake of rank and virtual goodies. Getting flying again after meeting your smoldering demise is simply a matter of respawning, making it an ideal learning environment for Elite's flight mechanics.
Happily, cross-play with the full version of Elite is in place, providing a ready player base to shoot down. To celebrate the launch, Frontier is running a series of CQC/Arena 'Mayhem' events (opens in new tab) for all players starting tonight at 6pm GMT and finishing March 15. You can submit your own event to the schedule by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject 'CQC Mayhem', although if you're only just buying Arena today that could be a bit premature.