Alpha 4 significantly expands the single player portion of the game. It’s set within a “200 cubic light-year volume” containing five star systems in contested space centred around “the Boötes constellation,” with “spectacular sights such as an unusual quaternary star system and ringed gas giants.”
Alpha 4 also allows you to choose between five ships, different weaponry, and introduces trading to the game for the first time.
If you buy into the Premium Beta for the steep price $150, you’ll also get access to the multiplayer, which goes live on May 30, as well as all future updates including the full game when it’s released.
The most recent update also adds two new methods of travel: super-cruise for accelerated within-system travel and hyperspace jumps for travel between systems. The latest episode of Reality Check, which includes an interview with Elite creator David Braben, explains that those are just tiny bit more difficult to pull off in reality than they are in a video game.