Great news for Elite: Dangerous players: the much-awaited 1.3 update, dubbed "Powerplay," is available today. As its name implies, this update lets players influence the balance of power between the game's three main factions by undertaking missions for or against them. Previously, one could perform missions for these factions, but the outcomes didn't influence the game's larger persistent universe.
All that dovetails nicely with some new mission types and better risk-reward payouts that could give players more of a sense of direction in Elite: Dangerous' galaxy-spanning sandbox.
That's not all, though. The developers have been very busy bees, as this update also includes new playable ships, new ship modules, and four metric Kardashian behinds of small fixes and improvements. Check out the comprehensive list here. Frontier Development has also made Steam keys freely available for early adopters. Anyone who contributed to the game's development directly or via Kickstarter is eligible.
Since I'm a thorough reporter, I will be, uh, confirming the quality of the update over the weekend.