Ready at Dawn today announced the beginning of the fourth open beta weekend for the zero-G, VR shooter expansion Echo Combat. Now on the list of improvements and updates includes a hotly awaited parties function, and a few other features and some fresh mechanic balances to boot.

The open beta will be taking place starting today, September 6th, at 10:30 AM PDT (local time here) and through Sunday, September 9th at 9:00 AM PDT (local time here).

The list of improvements include:

  • Parties – invite your friends and form the three-person posse you’ve been waiting for.
  • Arc Mine balance changes – The Arc Mine now continuously detects enemies while armed, and allows detected targets a short window of opportunity to either escape from its radius before it stuns them or destroy the mine.
  • Fission Map balance changes – the Cargo Bay has been altered to help the Attacking team push the Payload out of its initial room which include multiple new pieces of cover. more cover inserted on the Dense side to better break line of sight to the Cargo Bay, and a number of safer path options to exit the initial starting room and engage with Defenders has been added.
  • Energy barrier tweaks – to keep players from overly relying on the Energy Barrier Tac-Mod, it’s been nerfed slightly; the duration of the Energy Barrier, once generated, has been reduced to 15 seconds from its original 25 second duration. The Comet will also do slightly less damage to the Energy Barrier and will take a full clip to break it down.

There are also a host of general bug fixes listed on Ready at Dawn’s announcement page, which include known issues for both Echo Combat and Echo Arena.

Developers will be making game balance changes throughout the weekend based on community feedback, and provide these at incremental hotfixes.

The Top 5 Free Games for Oculus Rift S

In case you’re new to Echo Combat, here’s a quick primer: Echo Combat is an Oculus exclusive based around a familiar gametype that fans of Team Fortress 2 (2007) or Overwatch (2016) will instantly recognize: payload—push the cart on a track through the winding maze, or defend the advances of the cart by pushing it backwards and running down the clock. With a zero-G locomotion scheme, you can push yourself through the winding corridors and boost yourself to land those critical payload-stopping headshots.

For a deeper analysis, check out our hands-on during the first open beta weekend for more.

If you haven’t already, make sure to download Echo VR now to get a jump-start on the open beta weekend.

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