The Elite: Dangerous servers are currently down while Frontier Developers imports Beta 3 for everybody to get stuck into. According to this thread about the process on the Elite: Dangerous forums, the servers were shut off at 19.30 GMT for a process that will take a minimum of two hours.
Update: It is now live. The launcher should allow you to download the latest Beta version.
Frontier is expecting “a similar release process to that of 2.0,” which means you may run into some issues with the initial Beta 3 release (it’s a pretty huge one, as we’ll see shortly.) As with Beta 2, smaller updates will be released in the coming days to address any uncovered problems.
If you want to see a massive wall of text, head over to the aforementioned forum post which lists the full changelog for Elite: Dangerous Beta 3. It’s long.
Here are the main additions though:
NEW FEATURES & CONTENT
– New ship – Imperial Clipper added
– New ship – Federal Dropship added
– Added player driven interdiction
– Players can now interdict NPC ships and the NPC will be recreated in normal space along with the player (player interdiction is also possible)
– Fuel scooping from stars added
– Asteroid mining added (metal and rock)
– Players can own multiple ships
– Play area expanded (capsule 350ly long, radius 37 ly – 2400+ systems)
– Planet visuals overhaul
– Planet liquid colours now reflect chemical composition
– Atmospheric colours now reflecting their chemical composition
– Surface types and colours now reflect chemical composition
– Planets display volcanic features
– Complex Craters can create dust ejecta
– Crater frequency dependent on atmosphere thickness
– Ice planets now have fracture features
– Dynamic ice caps on all planets
– Dynamic liquid levels on all planets
– Asteroid belt clusters added
– Nebulae added to galaxy map
– Nebulae added to sky map rendering
– Make outpost landing pads more zero-g
– Status panel now shows faction reputation
– Improved range display and route finding in galaxy map
– Philanthropy missions added
– Partial name searching added to galaxy map
– Additional ships added to loading screen