CQC Championship logo

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 main menu 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,[1] and the Imperial Fighter,[2] with unlockable, customisable loadouts.[3]

In-universe, CQC Championship is a combat simulation made available by Utopixx Entertainment, a Federation company.[4]

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The stand alone version of Elite Dangerous: Arena was withdrawn from sale on February 10th, 2017.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." [5]


Players increase their CQC rank from 1 to 50 by participating in matches and earning experience.[6] This rank is separate from Pilots Federation CQC rank, which also increases alongside standard CQC rank.[3] 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.

CQC rank

Below is a table of the experience earned for different events.

Event XP earned Notes
Winner 200
MVP 100
Assistant 50
Finisher 50
Bouncing Back 25
Good Effort 25 For coming last & scoring the least
Payback 25
Multi-kill 25
Quick Kill 25
Try Harder 10

Below is a table of the experience required for each CQC rank increase.

Rank Exp. Rank Exp. Rank Exp.
1 600 18 2,052 35 7,015
2 645 19 2,205 36 7,541
3 693 20 2,371 37 8,107
4 745 21 2,549 38 8,715
5 801 22 2,740 39 9,369
6 861 23 2,945 40 10,071
7 926 24 3,166 41 10,827
8 995 25 3,404 42 11,639
9 1,070 26 3,659 43 12,511
10 1,150 27 3,933 44 13,450
11 1,237 28 4,228 45 14,459
12 1,329 29 4,546 46 15,543
13 1,429 30 4,886 47 16,709
14 1,536 31 5,253 48 17,962
15 1,651 32 5,647 49 19,309
16 1,775 33 6,070
17 1,908 34 6,526 Total 268,758

Below is a table of the icons for each CQC rank.

Icons Desc. Icons Desc. Icons Desc.
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

The Condor in CQC

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.

Ship Loadouts Loadout slots
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



Attilius Orbital

After reaching max 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. This Prestige rank increases the amount of credits one earns after each match and the player receives an icon next to their name in both CQC Championship and in the main game mode. Gaining a Prestige rank gives the player a permit to Attilius Orbital starport in CD-43 11917. [6]

Discount is 3%-all ships, modules and weapons.

The max prestige is 8.

CD-43 11917 is the home of elite pilots of CQC, the Prestiges.

Pilots Federation rank

CQC Elite icon

CQC Elite icon (Pilots Federation rank)

The following Pilots Federation CQC ranks are earned as the player progresses.

Mostly Helpless
Semi Professional

Game Modes

Elite Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - CQC

Elite Dangerous Pilot Tutorials - CQC

Official CQC Tutorial by Frontier Developments.[nb 1]

CQC matchmaking can be queued while playing the main game. When a match is found, the player will be prompted to join.[7]

Team Deathmatch

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.[8]


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.[8]

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.[8]

There are three distinct icons on the scanner:

  • Friendly-escort Teammate who has the enemy flag.
  • Enemy-flag Enemy pilot who has your flag.
  • Friendly-base Location of the friendly base for your flag.


Gameplay Mechanics


CQC Championship Hologram


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.

Listed below is what each power-up is:

Red - Weapon Enhance
Weapon damage enhancer.
Blue - Stealth Mode
Become harder to detect or target, like Silent Running but without losing shields or gaining heat.
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.

Time limit

Each match has 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.

Playable area

If you fly out of the arena bounds, the 20-second self-destruct countdown will start. It does not overheat your ship (unlike the self-desctuct procedure triggered manually from the right-hand panel) and can be aborted by flying back into the arena.

Shield recharging

Once your shields are down, they will start recharging, draining the energy from the SYS capacitor. Unlike the main game, shields immediately gain 90% strength when recharging is completed (as opposed to 50%).

Destructible structures

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.[12]

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.[13][14] 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.[15]


  • 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.[8]
  1. The tutorial video is now slightly outdated. Team Conflict has become Team Deathmatch, and loadouts are now also customisable.
  2. Orbital Junction is not in the game. It may have just been a work-in-progress version of Elevate, with different lighting.




  1. What is the Close Quarters Championship (CQC)?, 2015-06-16 13:53 GMT
  2. Ships 1.5 beta update - Patch notes
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dev Update (02/07/2015)
  4. Sol Unplugged?
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Dev Update (27/08/2015)
  7. Frontier Forums: Fleet Carriers Update - Patch Notes
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3
  9. Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #81
  10. Peek of the Week | Elite: Dangerous Community site
  11. Elite: Dangerous Newsletter #80
  12. Frontier Forums: The $100,000 CQC tournament – Everything you need to know.
  13. Frontier Forums: CQC tournament update
  14. Frontier Forums: Icarus Cup: Information and Signup
  15. Frontier Forums: Icarus Cup: Information and Signup, post #159
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