The Close Quarter Combat Championship, abbreviated as CQC or CQC Championship and sometimes referred to as Arena, is an arena combat mode in Elite Dangerous and the only game mode in the stand-alone release Elite Dangerous: Arena. It can be accessed from the launcher or directly in game under Start → Arena. The Arena mode is available to anyone who owns the full base game, Elite Dangerous.
CQC consists of 3 game modes: Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag. Ships available to pilot are the F63 Condor, Sidewinder MkI, Eagle MkII, and the Imperial Fighter, with unlockable, customisable loadouts.
CQC is mostly separate from the shared galaxy of Open Play, Private Group, and Solo Play, aside from some CQC rewards which carry over to the galaxy.
The stand alone version of Elite Dangerous: Arena was withdrawn from sale on February 10th, 2017. Please note that this does not mean Arena/CQC is no longer available, just that it is no longer available to be purchased as a separate stand-alone game. According to Frontier, "Elite Dangerous: Arena continues to be available and supported as part of the wider Elite Dangerous game." 
Players increase their CQC rank from 1 to 50 by participating in matches and earning experience. This rank is separate from Pilots Federation CQC rank, which also increases alongside standard CQC rank. CQC rank is only related to the Arena/CQC mode and its unlocks, while Pilots Federation CQC rank is displayed in the main mode of Elite Dangerous.
Below is a table of the experience earned for different events.
|Winner||200||Won a match|
|MVP||100||Scored the most in a match|
|Survivor||100||Do not die in a match|
|Assistant||50||Contribute to a target's death without dealing the killing blow|
|Finisher||50||Be present when the match is over|
|Good Effort||25||Scored the least and ranked last in a match|
|Payback||25||After being killed, kill the person that killed you|
|Multi-kill||25||Kill 2 or more people in a single life|
Below is a table of the experience required for each CQC rank increase.
Below is a table of the icons for each CQC rank.
|Rank 1~9||Rank 10~19||Rank 20~29|
|Rank 30~39||Rank 40~49||Rank 50|
|Prestige 1||Prestige 2||Prestige 3|
|Prestige 4||Prestige 5||Prestige 6|
|Prestige 7||Prestige 8 (Max)|
- Main article: CQC Championship/Loadouts
As a player ranks up they unlock more ship loadouts and alternative modules (such as weapons and armour) to customise those loadouts with. There are a variety of modules, each of which have their own pros and cons. For example, at rank 44 an Overcharged Beam Laser for Eagle Loadouts is unlocked, which works like a Beam Laser but has higher damage at the cost of an increase in heat gain.
|F63 Condor||F63 Condor Loadouts||Loadout 1, Loadout 5, Loadout 9|
|Sidewinder MkI||Sidewinder Loadouts||Loadout 2, Loadout 6, Loadout 10|
|Eagle MkII||Eagle Loadouts||Loadout 3, Loadout 7, Loadout 11|
|Imperial Fighter||Imperial Fighter Loadouts||Loadout 4, Loadout 8, Loadout 12|
After reaching rank 50, a player is able to reset their ranks back to rank 1 and lose all unlocks in order to get one Prestige ranking. The player receives an icon next to their name in CQC Championship and a permit for CD-43 11917, which contains Attilius Orbital. The starport offers 20-30% discounts on a number of weapons, modules, and small and medium combat ships. Players can prestige in CQC up to Prestige Level 8, but there are no benefits for each prestige after the first one aside from the higher Prestige Level.
Pilots Federation rank
The following Pilots Federation CQC ranks are earned as the player progresses.
|Elite Dangerous: Odyssey required to progress|
CQC matchmaking can be queued while playing the main game. When a match is found, the player will be prompted to join.
In Team Deathmatch, the first team to reach 25 kills, or the team with the most kills when the timer runs out, wins. Minimum players needed is 4.
In Deathmatch, the first player to get 750 points, or the player with the most kills when the timer runs out, wins. Players earn 100 points for a kill, and 50 for a kill assist. Minimum players needed is 2.
Capture the Flag
In Capture the Flag, the goal is to steal the opposing teams flag and return it to your flag base. You can only capture it while your flag is present, so defending your flag is key. The first team to 3 captures wins. Minimum players needed is 4.
There are three distinct icons on the scanner:
- Teammate who has the enemy flag.
- Enemy pilot who has your flag.
- Location of the friendly base for your flag.
There are four arenas:
There are four power-ups available in the arenas. All the power-ups are not necessarily in every arena. They can be seen on the scanner as a grey icon. Each power-up type is differentiated by its colour, hologram icon, and the name when targeting it.
To get a power-up, one must fly through the hologram surrounded by a ring, preferably without crashing into the ring. Once you have collected a power-up, its timer ring to the right of to the Power Distributor display will show how long it will last.
The power-ups are:
- Red - Weapon Enhance
- Weapon damage enhancer.
- Blue - Stealth Mode
- Become invisible to enemy radars, similar to Silent Running but without losing shields or gaining heat. Using weapons deactivates this power-up.
- Yellow - Shield Boost
- Instantly refills your shields and overcharges them by 30%.
- Green - Speed Surge
- Speed boost that briefly increases top speed.
Unlike in the other game modes, line of sight is needed in order to target ships or see them on the scanner. If the target is obscured by any environmental object (asteroid, station wall, etc.) the sensors will lose lock and the message "Target Missing" will be triggered. However, should line of sight be restored, the original target will automatically be locked onto again, triggering the "Target Acquired" message. Note: you do not have to face the target to reacquire lock.
Deathmatches have a 7:30-minute time limit. Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag matches have a 15-minute time limit to complete your goals and at the 10, 5 and 1 minute, and 10, 5-1 second marks a notification on the top right UI panel will display with a narrator telling the player how long is left.
If the goal is completed before the counter reaches 0, the game also ends. Should the time limit be reached with no kills at all or an equal amount of kills, deaths and assists for two or more players, the game will result in a Draw.
If a player flies out of the arena bounds, the 20-second self-destruct countdown will start. It does not overheat the fighter (unlike the manual self-destruct procedure that can be activated in the right-hand panel) and can be aborted by flying back into the arena. There can be bugs, resulting in players being able to leave the arena bounds unpunished.
Once a fighter's shields are down, they will start recharging, draining the energy from the SYS capacitor. Unlike ships, fighter shields immediately gain 90% strength when recharging is completed (as opposed to 50%).
Inside certain tunnels, there are pillars which can be destroyed by shooting at them, after which they explode, allowing clear access through the tunnel.
The $100,000 CQC Tournament
On November 13, 2015, Frontier Developments announced the first official CQC tournament. Qualifying heats were planned for early 2016. There were separate tournaments for PC and Xbox One, with a prize pot of $15,000 USD split between them ($7,500 USD prize pot for each final). The "$100,000" mentioned in the tournament's name referred not to the top prize for the winner, but the total prize budget.
The tournament was canceled on July 7, 2016 due to delays and changing plans for the Elite Dangerous: Horizons 2.1 update, which originally would have implemented specific features that were necessary to run the tournament as envisioned. Frontier Developments planned to replace the CQC tournament with a PvP Wing-based tournament restricted to small and medium ships called the Icarus Cup, but this never took place. On August 27, 2019, Community Manager Paige Harvey finally confirmed that the Icarus Cup was effectively canceled, but Frontier was still interested in holding other contests and competitions in the future.
- The Elite Dangerous: Beyond Chapter Two update reduced the minimum required players for Deathmatch from 4 to 2, and Team Deathmatch / Capture the Flag from 6 to 4 players.
- During development, Frontier Developments stated that prestiged players would receive two additional rewards: additional credit earnings from CQC matches, and a special prestige icon next to their name in-game. Neither reward was implemented. It was also stated that the maximum Prestige Level would be 9, but instead it is 8.
- All Pilots Federation ranks above Elite (Elite I-V) were added in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey.
- The tutorial video is now slightly outdated. Team Conflict has become Team Deathmatch, and loadouts are now also customisable.
- What is the Close Quarters Championship (CQC)?, 2015-06-16 13:53 GMT
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- Frontier Forums: The $100,000 CQC tournament – Everything you need to know.
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- Frontier Forums: Icarus Cup: Information and Signup, post #159
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