Dual Universe' Ares update will be live on the PTS tomorrow, September 15th at 10:00AM UTC (6:00AM Eastern), and this new in-between update was announced recently, with promises of more details to come. The Novaquark team has now made those update details known.
Ares will bring a Core Combat Stress victory condition, which adds a new angle to battle and defense. The core's ability to endure under weapons fire and maintain function is at the heart of this new PVP win condition. Combat stress will accumulate as the core takes more damage from anything that is a non-shield weapon, counting just raw damage and no resistances will count. Damage starts at 0% and accrues up to 100%. If your core takes 100% damage, it is destroyed and this counts as a PVP destruction, so this will be another way for an opponent to wear you down and win against you. This, naturally, will make you want to figure out how to boost your defense now that you're up against a new form of threat.
Your core's stress gauge is affected by the base number that is the health sum of your construct's honeycombs, the quality of the material used in them, and the type too. So it will be your honeycombs in which you'll want to invest. But this won't be infinite. There will be a cap on how much health you can get from honeycombs, so it won't be a matter of throw everything you can at the problem to beef up your cores.
Shields are also changed in this new update, where they have adjustable resistances. Shields start with a base resistance of 10/10/10/10 and a 60% resource pool that you can allocate in 5% increments. Once allocated, there will be a cooldown before you can recalibrate or change anything. Since these customizations are flexible, you'll get a warning on your shield UI as to which ones are taking the most damage, allowing players to react.
The test server has two other fixes intended to close some unintentional exploitable loopholes.
For the full rundown on part one of the Ares update and what to expect, check out the Dual Universe post here.