Avatars! Multicrew ships! Balance changes! Nouns with exclamation points! Yes, the latest Elite: Dangerous patch has a whole lot of stuff contained therein, and players can start testing all of that stuff now with the patch in its first testing phase. It still is very much the first phase, too, as elements like multicrew functionality haven’t yet been implemented; the patch notes for the test include all of the details on multicrew ships, but also notes that they’re not in there yet.
Of course, there’s lots of stuff is there, even beyond commander functionality; there are new ship nameplates, bug fixes, mission and engineering adjustments, everything you’d expect from one of the game’s large patches. So while you can’t bring your friends along just yet, you should find plenty to do if you’re testing the patch.