Anvil Carrack

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Anvil Aerospace

Anvil Aerospace was founded in 2772. To this day, it remains one of Terra’s success stories. The company’s focus has been on delivering military-grade equipment to the UEE navy. Anvil’s entry into the civilian market is relatively new. While there had been internal debate over the company making this move, the UEE weighed in favorably on the idea. The government thought outfitting civilians with military-styled capabilities was a prudent cautionary measure for solidifying our general defenses. Equipped with Anvil ships, these pilots could be called upon as local militia, especially in distant frontiers.

Many of us will undoubtedly explore the star systems that comprise the Star Citizen universe. Participating in player missions and pursuing careers will necessitate some travel. I can’t imagine anyone playing Star Citizen without some intention to explore. That said, they’re exploring in the vein of sightseeing and then there’s the career or more serious pursuit of exploration.

Anvil Carrack

To perform exploration as a career choice in Star Citizen, necessitates that at a minimum you can, navigate jump points, scan areas to identify space anomalies, categorize the information and accurately document your findings. Several ships will fit the bill of performing minimal exploration, like the Aurora ES. However, for more serious pursuit there are other modules and amenities that improve the overall experience for you and your crew. This is where a ship like the Anvil Carrack comes into play. It’s designed with sustained deep space exploration in mind. And includes features that support longer duration self sustained exploration excursions.

The Anvil Carrack is a multi-crew ship that supports 5 crew stations. Like several of the other ships manufactured by Anvil Aerospace, the Carrack was originally a military exclusive. Here are the features that set the Anvil apart as a dedicated exploration vessel

  • Specially reinforced fuel tanks for long-duration flight
  • Advanced jump drive capabilities provide by the Tarsus Tunneler
  • Dedicated computer core for jump charting operations.
  • Fully outfitted medical bay
  • Fully functional repair facilities
  • Mapping-oriented sensor suite
  • 1058 cargo units

As of this posting the Carrack is in the concept / early design phase. Backers who pledged to Star Citizen development via the Carrack are likely looking for the “Go where no man has gone before” experience. At a minimum, we know that exploration will include locating and charting new jump points, surveying and charting systems, detecting other space anomalies such as black holes, etc. Opportunities for this much is already evident in the ARK Starmap published by Cloud Imperium Games.  For more information on the system discoveries that await, please see my article about this subject here on Redacted.TV.

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Mining Profession

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As this will be one of the professions many new players gravitate toward, here’s a quick overview of the mining profession.  It was one of the first career design documents published and is supposedly representative of their philosophy for all careers.  Which is that career associated tasks contain activities that require skill, dext, rity and intelligence, where mindless repetition or idle monitoring are explicitly avoided.

This is after all, deep space and although a career isn’t combat oriented there’s danger present.  In the case of mining, the more valuable materials will reside in dense asteroid fields that must be piloted through without suffering serious damage to your ship.  While mining, you can encounter compressed pockets of gas and other volatile materials that can explode in the presence of excessive energy or detonate from seismic activity.  In other words, this isn’t an auto-pilot profession and careless players can die.

 IN THE BEGINNING

Visiting your local Trade and Development Division (TDD), which serves as the marketplace for commodities, can provide a sense of what’s in demand, at what price and where.  Once you’ve decided on what you want to attempt to mine, it’s time to decide between going freelance or acquiring a contract for those materials from a NPC run corporation.

There are benefits and risks of working freelance.  On the good, you are your own master.  You set your mining schedule and pace.  You may be able to sell your cargo for a higher than average price based on market changes.  However, the opposite is also a risk.  By the time you return with your cargo and list it for auction, the prices may have decreased.

If a committed payout is preferred, working on contract is the better option.  You know exactly how much you will be paid for your cargo.  However, this isn’t completely without risk.  If during the excursion your ship suffers damage OR unforeseen setbacks delay your return or reduce your cargo, your reputation will take a hit. In the end, you are paid less than you expected because of your performance and that performance has a lasting impact on future employment.

LOCATING THE RIGHT ASTEROID FIELDS

After deciding between freelance and contract, it’s time to locate asteroids that contain the materials you seek.  Every solar system will contain a variety of public information on major asteroid fields. It’s probably best to head into the known when you’re starting.  However, don’t expect to find the more lucrative materials there.  If they existed in that location, they’re likely long gone.  However, it’s still a good place to start mining common materials.

Freelancers wanting to maximize their profits can opt to spend money on an Information Broker.  This is someone who has knowledge about asteroid fields which aren’t public.  They either bought the information from someone else or obtained the coordinates through exploration and are using that information to provide a service.

Lastly, you can explore the galaxy yourself.  This will be the most time-consuming approach and not likely to be feasible for contract work that contains deadlines.  However, combined with an emphasis on exploration, a freelancer could turn an excellent profit by harvesting from isolated/unknown locations and/or selling the information to an Information Broker. You could also be an explorer and information broker yourself but we’re here to talk about mining. *Smile*

GETTING THE JOB DONE

Mining consists of multiple roles, and is done using a ship configured for mining, such as the Orion.  The more proficiency you have with performing a role the more efficient the results, which ultimately impacts effort versus profit.  Note that any or all of these roles can be performed by NPCs.  The NPC’s proficiency will be commensurate with their fee.

As for solo play as a miner, the design document leads me to believe that it’s not possible to mine completely solo – without players or NPCs. Roles that happen sequentially can be carried out by the same person.  However, there are activities that take place simultaneously and as such, require multiple bodies.

The pilot is responsible for safely navigating the ship to and within targeted asteroid fields.  This may not be as simple as it sounds.  Rarer materials will be located in dense fields which require nimble navigation skills to avoid costly ship damage.

A scan operator is responsible for identifying an asteroid’s composition.  This is accomplished by injecting remote material analysis packages (RMAPs) into nearby asteroids. The telemetry data is sent to the pilot and scan operator. Once a site is selected, the optimal injection orientation is displayed.  The scan operator launches and manually controls RMAP-equipped missiles used to impact the asteroid at the correct location to expose the materials you want to mine.  Actual mining efficiency is impacted by the accuracy of the scan operator’s efforts to expose the asteroid’s components.

Next up is the beam operator who is responsible for wielding the mining beam affixed to the ship’s robotic arms.  They have direct control over beam output and if they’re good, are able to precisely extract materials.  Their control of the beam is also critical to safety, as an injection of surplus energy into volatile materials can cause explosive chain reactions.  The result of such a mistake can range from ship damage to the loss of the ship and its crew.

The cargo operator is the sifting and pick-up role.  Mined materials are NOT automagically deposited into your vessel.  The cargo operator monitors the fragments being excavated by the mining beam and interrogates them using an integrated Fragment Scanner. Fragments of interest are directed into a ship’s input port.  The input port houses a crusher that pulverizes the fragments into rubble and stores the contents into cargo modules.  The skill of this person also impacts the value of your payload. They can miss important fragments or be so slow that they impact your efficiency, putting you behind schedule for contract deliveries.

If your ship is equipped with a refinery, the refinery operator will process raw ore into its purified forms, ejecting waste elements out into space.  Purified materials consume considerably less storage space which allows your operation to continue for extended periods of time before it becomes necessary to dock and unload.

Whew, that’s more involved than the mining I’ve done in other games such as EVE Online. I have no intention of mining in Star Citizen.  Even in this interactive model, there are other things I’d rather do to earn a living.  However, I’m sure this is going to appeal to a lot of people which is why I wanted to provide a short overview of the mechanics involved. Here’s a link to the design document for a more detailed look at the profession.

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Passenger Transport & Genesis Starliner

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OH MY GAWD, they had me at profession…

For a long time now, I’ve had a vision of the role I wanted to play in Star Citizen. I saw myself playing out a female version of Mal from Firefly. My love for FF is undeniable.  I create and sell FF inspired jewelry. On some level, this role would also mirror my career in EVE Online, which existed long before there were salvage specific ships available.

In EVE, salvage appealed to me because I liked the freedom to engage random rats and salvage their ships while exploring, salvage kills from riding shotgun during mining ops, leech cleaning around AFK miners and cleaning up after my own PVE missions.  It certainly didn’t hurt that salvage was lucrative, even for freshies, which is what I was when I started.  I suddenly had a license to print ISK in EVE, after a long suffering stint of poverty. As such, my vision for SC was a more RP and environmentally lush version of this.  I knew there would be piracy/PVP, FPS pew-pew, industry/mining, etc., none of which excited me as a primary focus.  I was content and excited about the vision I held.

To cement my vision, I purchased a Freelancer, now upgraded to Freelancer MAX before they announced the salvage specific ship, the Reclaimer. Even so, the FM would be good enough until I upgraded in the future to the Reclaimer. La la la, all was settled in my SC world.

That was until I saw a YouTube video discussing the recently unveiled Genesis Starliner and the accompanying transport career.  My mouth fell open, hit the floor and remained there.  I watched the video multiple times. I went to the RSI website and read the content for myself.  Why oh why, did RSI include interactive content allowing you to see the travel brochures someone might read when planning a vacation and then choose a destination from an airport departures board, which tied to a short RP story of a passenger aboard the ship. It was a sucker punch to my gut that excited me for a SC experience that was very different from the one I had planned in my head.

I could pilot and manage a civilian transport business. I COULD PILOT AND MANAGE A CIVILIAN TRANSPORT BUSINESS. I could do this with friends. I could do this with guildmates! WhatchootalkinboutWillis??

SHIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mid-range luxury civilian transport ship.
  • Modular design seating up to 100 economy passengers, or less as a mixture of economy, business class and luxury.
  • Versatile interior design can also used to transport and repair race ships, military troops transport or fitted out as private luxury liner.
  • Is same ship-class used for the SC equivalent of Air Force One, The UEE Imperator’s transport ship.
  • Is big. Is beautiful. Is WOW.
  • Comes with Lifetime Insurance (LTI)

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Formal career and mechanics being designed around civilian transport.
  • Requires obtaining licenses to operate out of your desired travel hubs.
  • Requires clean criminal record to obtain and maintain licenses.
  • Incorporates a reputation systems based on passenger satisfaction.
  • May require actual crew depending on configuration/passenger count.
  • On-board mini games provide customer service tasks such as food and beverage service, entertainment centers, in-flight mechanical and medical emergencies, etc..
  • Crew roles can be fulfilled by other players or you can hire NPC flight attendants.

WHY I’M ENTHRALLED

  • I prefer when there are mechanics in MMOs that allow me to take on a role that feels as though I have an on-going existence in the world beyond showing up to do quests and craft.  The EQ2 crafting and housing system allowed me to establish and run a decorating service. ArcheAge for all its other faults, had a detailed crafting and economy which served the same, that I really enjoyed.
  • I play and enjoy task based / time management games such as the various Dash games and the survival but heavily time management slanted, Don’t Starve / Don’t Starve Together.
  • I’m a long time The Sims fan who is brimming with ideas of how you can really RP this ship and career, not to mention the modularity of the ship itself, which will lend to all sorts of personalized and flavorful transport services.
  • Get tired of transporting civilians, carry race ships.  Get tired of trucking race ships, it can be outfitted for military operations for your corporation and allies.  Over that, setup for search and rescue.  Lots of options to choose from to change up your game play or help your friends and corp.
  • It’s a completely new and unique gaming experience/profession!
  • I’m like a cat.  When I enjoy an activity in game, I can do it routinely without becoming board.  Just ask my ArcheAge guildmates about me a running trade packs. LOL Who I would also transport goods for using my farm wagon, for the modest price of one free trade pack for me to turn in too and some boosted fuel.

I shouldn’t have but I COULD NOT HELP MYSELF.  I pledged / purchased the Genesis Starliner.  As I said, they had me at profession.

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MISC Hull Series

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Musashi Industrial & Starlight Concern
Musashi Industrial & Starlight Concern, commonly called MISC,  is based on Saisei in Centauri.  As a manufacturer, they’re known for the ergonomics of their factories, where spacecraft are robotically assembled with precision.  Centauri was one of the first systems settled during Humanity’s expansion among the stars.  It was discovered in 2365 by a dedicated survey ship. Centauri III was quickly offered up at a premium to private concerns. The result was Saisei, one of the most beautiful and well-constructed Human worlds in the UEE.

The majority of MISC’s business comes from the production of their heavy industrial division. One of MISC’s claims to fame is their technology partnership with the Xi’an, which came about due to the popularity of MISC ships within their culture.  That popularity led to MISC becoming the only Human spacecraft corporation to sign a lend-lease agreement with the Xi’an.  The details of which, are a closely guarded secret.

MISC Hull A

The Hull A is the smallest and least expensive in the Hull series. It’s ideal for someone who is just starting out in freight hauling and is looking for a dedicated cargo vessel.  In size, it’s most similar to the Aurora, Mustang or Reliant Kore but is less versatile.  The aforementioned ships are configured with more firepower, allowing them to also be used in combat.  This is not the case for the Hull A.

The Hull A is 22 meters in length.  Has a mass of roughly fourteen thousand kilograms. Supports 1 crew station. And holds 48 cargo units.  In addition to being a dedicated hauler, the Hull A is often used as a station-to-orbit ferry. The size and limited capabilities is one of the reasons the Hull A didn’t meet my needs even as someone who will only casual participate in cargo hauling.  But I think it’s a good starter option for a dedicated hauler.

MISC Hull B

Next in the Hull series is the Hull B.  It’s a larger and more rugged option than the Hull A.  It can be compared to the Freelancer base model but here again, it’s less flexible in the non-cargo hauling features, lacking a long range scanner and is only equipped with one crew station. However, the lack of versatility is compensated for by providing additional storage capacity. Even the Freelancer MAX’s storage capabilities don’t match the Hull B.

The Hull be is 49 meters in length and weighs roughly sixty-seven thousand kilograms. It supports 1 crew station and can transport 384 cargo units. As you can see, that’s a significant jump in storage units from the Hull A’s 48.

The Hull B is the variant I purchased. For smaller, on the go hauling, I have a Reliant Kore.  And although I also own the Freelancer Mercantile, I’m going to be using that for multi-crew missions and tour bus for family and friends.  For opportunistic hauling with a bit of intent, the Hull B hit the right chord for me.

MISC Hull C

The Hull C. This is where the Hull series makes a significant leap in cargo transport size.  The Hull C is one of the more common ships seen transporting cargo around the galaxy. It’s the variant most produced from the Hull series and is considered the most versatile.

The Hull C is intended to hit the ‘sweet spot’ between the smaller single-person transports and the massive super-freighters that make up the rest of the line.  It offers modularity while maintaining a modicum of maneuverability.

Considering the Hull series sequentially, the Hull C is the first in the series to employ the spindle modularity cargo support mechanic.  This unique design allows the ship to shrink and grow to match your cargo hauling needs.

The ship itself is 105 meters in length and weighs just under 290,00 kilograms.  It supports 3 crew stations and 4608 cargo units. That’s more than 10 times what Hull B can haul.

MISC Hull D

Now we enter the realm of large operation super-freighters.  It’s the Hull D, a massive ship built around a rugged frame. The Hull D is affordable enough to be operated by mid-sized organizations and companies.  It’s often used as a flagship for mercantile operations.  However, their bulk means that they should be operated with escort fighters while not in safe space.  While it is equipped with Size 2 and 3 gimbal mounts as weapons support, it’s size would make it an easy target regardless.  The UEE military uses modified Hull D as part of their supply chain, arming and refueling the soldiers on the front line.

The Hull D cab is 206 meters and weighs over 1 million kilograms.  It supports 5 crew stations and 20,736 cargo units.  This is for serious…dedicated…cargo transport.

MISC Hull E

Last in the series is the behemoth, Hull E. It’s the largest specialized freighter available on the market.  The Hull E is generally owned by major corporations and operated with a high degree of planning. To make your excursions profitable, you want to do careful logistics planning that optimizes your route for pickup and delivery.  And ensure you have payloads big enough and profitable enough to warrant undocking a Hull E.

It’s essential to understand that the lack of maneuverability inherent in such a large ship means that it is a target for pirates and raiders.  Anyone planning to operate one should be careful about equipping turrets and providing reliable escort. The Hull E isn’t for the fly by night cargo operator.  It’s intended for large scale dedicated transport operations.

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Casual Citizen Episode 16 – MISC Hull Series


Starfarer - Refueling Variant

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Musashi Industrial & Starlight Concern
Musashi Industrial & Starlight Concern, commonly called MISC,  is based on Saisei in Centauri.  As a manufacturer, they’re known for the ergonomics of their factories, where spacecraft are robotically assembled with precision.  Centauri was one of the first systems settled during Humanity’s expansion among the stars.  It was discovered in 2365 by a dedicated survey ship. Centauri III was quickly offered up at a premium to private concerns. The result was Saisei, one of the most beautiful and well-constructed Human worlds in the UEE.

The majority of MISC’s business comes from the production of their heavy industrial division. One of MISC’s claims to fame, is their technology partnership with the Xi’An, which came about due to the popularity of MISC ships within their culture.  That popularity led to MISC becoming the only Human spacecraft corporation to sign a lend lease agreement with the Xi’An.  The details of which, are a closely guarded secret.

In recent years, MISC has turned its attention to advancing its two ship lines marked for personal use – the Freelancer and Starfarer.  They’ve funneled profit from their corporate revenue to break into this crowded segment, battling against giants such as Roberts Space Industries and Drake Interplanetary.

THE STARFARER

Our discussion of the Starfarer will be solely on the refueling variant. We’ll save discussion of the Gemini for a future show.

The Starfarer is a niche spacecraft which has become the defacto standard for fuel transport.  Its design is the result of an 18-month survey that yielded a 15,000 page study on ship roles and the deficiencies faced by pilots.  That insight influenced the core design philosophy for the Starfarer. And led to it being fitted as a dual-role fueling craft, capable of collecting fuel in space and refueling ships in-flight.

The Starfarer’s massive internal fuel tanks are welded directly to the ship’s core superstructure.  This makes safer for fuel transport than ships modified to carry out this role.  The tanks use external probes and pressure access nodes to provide easy access.  In this manner, the ship can scoop hydrogen from a gas giant and just as easily funnel fuel to a nearby ship.

Starfarers can be upgraded to include a basic refinery to allow for processing unrefined fuel themselves.  The hydrogen tanks can also be modified to carry liquid food products.  Although this modification isn’t popular, you can replace the tanking machinery with a cargo chassis  to transport bulk goods.

Even though the Starfarer can be modified for other roles,  remember that it’s primarily a dedicated fuel platform.  And designed from the ground up to be that. It won’t perform in these other roles, as effectively as a dedicated option.

Although the Starfarer supports multiple crew stations, it can be run as a solo operation.  Management of the ship and its resources will take more time and require a lot of running back and forth.  But it is possible.

Detailed Design Doc Still Incoming

A detailed design document will be made available as soon as all of the mechanics involved the refueling process have been finalized. That said, here are some aspects which have been more or less “confirmed” based on CIG Q&A responses:

  • Eventually, you will be able to store pods of fuel in your hangar.
  • There will be refueling missions and NPC pilots can also be serviced by a player run Starfarer.
  • The Starfarer’s refinery operates considerably slower than a dedicated refining facility.  However, it allows you to refine and utilize fuel you’ve collected while out in space.  You will have the option of taking your unrefined fuel to a refinery for processing.
  • You’re carrying and processing fuel.  Mishaps can happen and it’s mostly bad news if they do.  They want refining to be a challenging process where failures and collisions can cause significant ship damage.
  • You can refuel ships while flying, similar to aircraft.  Doing so, is considerably more difficult and adds an additional element of risk.
  • Unlike the larger Hull series of ships, the Starfarer can land planetside even with a full load of cargo.
  • Potential owner upgrades include long range scanner and jump drives.  You can exchange the fuel tanks for standardized Stor-All containers to haul cargo.
  • Fuel will be important in space flight but not a constant worry. You’ll need to monitor your consumption if you quantum often and are traversing lots of jump points.  However, it’s not a situation that should leave you completely stranded if you run out. You can use a slower method of travel as a stop-gap, until  to reach a refueling option. The plan is for fuel to be a serious support role in Star Citizen.  NPCs and players will be manning Starfarers. And player managed Starfarers can supply fuel to NPC managed fuel stations such as Cry Astro.

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Merchantman - Alien Trading Ship

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The Banu

Our first encounter with the Banu occurred in the Davien system. In 2438 an independent nav-jumper named Vernon Tar, opened fire on what he thought was another privateer trying to steal his meager claim in the system.  The pilot of the other ship turned out to be Banu. Luckily, the incident didn’t lead to any deaths and became humanity’s first introduction to the Banu Protectorate.

Baachus is believed to be the Banu’s home world.  We say “believe” because the they haven’t been forthcoming on the subject. The Banu Political System is a Republic of Planet-States, each run under its own policies. The representatives of each planet gather for a quorum to debate legal and trade issues that affect the entire species. Otherwise, each planet is left to their own devices.

The Banu do not maintain a standing army.  Local militia keep the peace within their systems and they’re not especially selective. Even criminals can and do serve.  However, don’t be fooled into thinking this makes the Banu worlds an easy target.  On the contrary, they have the means to muster a formidable fighting force if necessary.

In comes the Merchantman

The Banu are the traders and culture-hounds of the universe. There are a lot of things they’re willing to overlook in pursuit of commerce.  They trade with the  Vanduul and if you’re looking for shady, check the back alleys of any Banu city.

Their planets are varied and colorful and they take pride in being unique in their culture and traditions.  However, their pursuit of wealth through trading is their one true ring. And why the ship designed to support that lifestyle, The Merchantman,  is prized above all others.

The BMM is categorized as a trade vessel within the cargo ship classification. As far as available cargo size units, it’s carries more than the Hull C, coming in at 5018.  It’s 100 meters in length and supports a maximum of 8 crew stations.  Compared to the other cargo ships, the BMM on paper has more defensive and offensive technical capabilities – wolf in sheep’s clothing.  However, remember this is still concept ships and such, things are subject to change.

Why is the Banu Merchantman a lifestyle?

One of the things that sets the BMM apart from other cargo ships is that it’s designed for sustainable deep space travel.  A traveling business with residential accommodations. Instead of bunks stashed conveniently in a passageway or galley-like area, there the BBM contains dedicated living quarters a short distance from the cockpit. It also boasts an observation room where business negotiations take place and allows customers to view a portion of the cargo hold. The BMM is designed for you to go to your customers and reside at that location for a time while conducting business.  When you’re done, you close up shop and move on.

The BMM Can’t be an Island

While the features and lifestyle of owning a Banu Merchantman may instantly sound appealing, having one is only part of the equation.  Unlike a pure cargo hauler whose primary role is transport goods, not sell them, the BBM needs merchandise to sell.  I doubt you’ll be running NPC cargo hauling missions with your BMM.  That’s doesn’t sound like an efficient use of the vessel.  Therefore you need a consistent means of filling up your cargo bay.

Pairing the BMM up with a resource acquisition ship like the Orion, Reclaimer or Endeavor could be an option.  Like an airplane segregates seating into economy, business and 1st class, you might consider the same strategy with the Merchantman.  Commonly needed  ore, food supplies, industrial materials, etc., could be your economy merchandise. While the more exotic lower quantity higher margin cargo.  For your planning, you’ll need to know which systems produce luxury items that are in demand elsewhere.  For a headstart in ideas, you may want to start reading the Galactic Guides and taking a look at where those locations are in relationship to each other on the Starmap.

CIG has said that not all merchandise is available in every system.   Therefore savvy merchants will need to stay informed on pockets of consumer demand for merchandise versus where the items can  be acquired.  In that scenario it doesn’t have to be exotic or luxury to be profitable.  I wonder if we’ll be able to purchase wholesale quantities of goods from NPC managed businesses?

Nefarious Intentions

Although pirating and unlawful conduct isn’t my cup of tea, I recognize it’s a valid play style and the BMM can play a role in such activities.  CIG has suggested that the capabilities of the Banu Merchantman make it viable as an armored smuggling ship or blockage runner.  I wasn’t a pirate in EVE Online but I owned a blockade runner for transporting salvage and low level manufactured goods into hostile territories, where listing them on the auction house was considerably more profitable. I also used it to transport my own ships and equipment to whatever system our organization was defending during Faction Warfare –  a form of territorial PVP in EVE.

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MISC Reliant Series

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Musashi Industrial & Starlight Concern
Musashi Industrial & Starlight Concern, commonly called MISC,  is based on Saisei in Centauri.  As a manufacturer, they’re known for the ergonomics of their factories, where spacecraft are robotically assembled with precision.  Centauri was one of the first systems settled during Humanity’s expansion among the stars.  It was discovered in 2365 by a dedicated survey ship. Centauri III was quickly offered up at a premium to private concerns. The result was Saisei, one of the most beautiful and well-constructed Human worlds in the UEE.

The majority of MISC’s business comes from the production of their heavy industrial division. One of MISC’s claims to fame is their technology partnership with the Xi’an, which came about due to the popularity of MISC ships within their culture.  That popularity led to MISC becoming the only Human spacecraft corporation to sign a lend-lease agreement with the Xi’an.  The details of which, are a closely guarded secret.

In recent years, MISC has turned its attention to advancing its two ship lines marked for personal use – the Freelancer and Starfarer.  They’ve funneled profit from their corporate revenue to break into this crowded segment, battling against giants such as Roberts Space Industries and Drake Interplanetary

I own the Reliant Kore, specifically to zip around the galaxy doing small cargo runs solo or with a younger family member. If I didn’t already have the Drake Herald, I might have opted for the Mako news van variant instead.

RELIANT KORE – The MINI HAULER

The Reliant Kore considered the base ship in this series, is an introductory cargo hauling vessel.  However, unlike the smaller hauler in the MISC Hull series, the Reliant also equipped with moderate offensive and defensive capabilities.  It also supports two crew stations, which is rare at this price point. Compared to other introductory cargo ships, the Reliant Kore at $50 USD, 30 cargo units of space and combination of S1 and S3 hard points, make it a good value against its competitors.

The Aurora CL which is a mercantile ship costs $45 USD, holds fewer cargo units with its 23 and is also moderately equipped for combat with S2 hardpoints. The MISC Hull A transports 48 cargo units, is equipped exclusively with S1 hardpoints but costs $60 USD. So depending on your intent and playstyle, the Reliant Kore can be a very good fit.

If your intent is similar to mine, opportunistic small-scale cargo hauling with a friend or family member, only the Reliant will fit that bill. If you’re a dedicated hauler and this will be your primary method for earning money in the game, the single seat Hull A is a better value because of it’s larger cargo hold.  If you want to transport cargo AND do combat missions right from the start, the Aurora CL is likely a better choice.  Outside of combat, I want to share my experiences with others, which makes having multiple crew stations a priority, hence I opted for the Reliant Kore.

RELIANT SEN – The RESEARCHER

The Reliant Sen is starter ship focused on exploration with advanced sensor capabilities.  It’s not clear to me what calling it a “mobile science platform” means, as we’ve yet to see the science profession design document.  But I would assume it will support components that allow the Sen to perform some of the less intensive tasks from the science career.

if you’re in the market for a starter exploration ship, the Reliant Sen price and hardpoints configuration, pit it against the Aurora ES.  Here again, for someone wanting a dedicated exploration vessel that is the primary method for initially earning money in the game, the ES is a good value.  However, with 10 cargo units of space, exploration equipped, mobile science capabilities, decent combat abilities and two crew stations, I think the Reliant Sen is the better overall value.

RELIANT MAKO – The NEWS VAN

Are you an information hound? Do you want to capture what’s happening in the verse and relay events as they unfold, to civilians and citizens alike?  Then a career in news and entertainment, alongside being the owner of a Reliant Mako, might be for you.

The Reliant Mako utilizes a state of the art Image Enhancement suite and turret-mounted optics, to capture every moment as it happens, allowing you to deliver the clarity and accuracy needed to make headlines.  It’s a baby Herald of sorts, letting you do recon and information relay.  Owners will be able to obtain the best picture and footage from the safest distance possible and spread the word. It’s scanning and broadcast capabilities won’t be as powerful as a Herald, being a starter ship, but it will get the job done.  And like the Herald, it supports two crew stations.

RELIANT TANA – The SKIRMISHER

Pew-pew incoming…  What would a series of starter ships be without a combat option? The Reliant Tana enters the ring as the only two-person combat ship, classified as a starter vessel. Categorized as a lightweight fighter, it brings with it high custom high-yield power plant and stronger shields due to its Xi’an technology.  It possesses additional weapon mounts AND a wider coverage arc owed to its design.

Entering the game as a static duo? Want to bring someone along who’s not adept enough to fly their own combat ship? Planning to take off with one of your children? I think the Tana is an excellent choice.

Here are other factors to consider about the Reliant Series in general, that I’ve gleaned from the Concept Sale Q&A Posts.

  • CIG considers the Reliant a utility ship. It was designed as a starter that provides multiple player profession opportunities in a single ship series and is more persistent universe game-play focused.
  • The secondary station is to control turrets. When flying solo, you can slave the turrets to the pilot.  However, you’ll lose the benefit of the ship’s unique large coverage arc. This impacts combat, scanning, and news-reporter related activities.  It is strongly suggested the ship be manned by two players.
  • The two flight orientation modes each have their own benefits.  Vertical is a better profile for combat, as it adds increased maneuverability and better spread of the thrusters.  When locked in the vertical position, the pilot seat is on top.  Horizontal is less agile but has a higher top speed.  It should also be noted that transition between the two orientations will take a few seconds and isn’t something we should expect to do quickly, while engaged in combat.  Additionally, players can only exit their seats while in the horizontal orientation.
  • Definitive plans about including jump drives as default configuration in the variants haven’t been determined.  They will, however, all be capable of having one installed.
  • The Tractor Beam mounted on the Wing-Tip can be replaced with size 2 weapon.  This would be useful for flying the ships in Arena Commander or in circumstances where combat is highly anticipated. Note that the Tractor Beam isn’t a default component in the base variant, the Reliant Kore.
  • The planned speed for the Reliant will fall between Aurora’s 150 MS and the Mustang’s 200. From the Q&A response, it’s not clear if that includes the increased speed received from being in the horizontal orientation.
  • While each ship in the series will support component flexibility, within the variants themselves, not all components are interchangeable.  It’s not a simple matter of taking a component out of the Mako and putting in the Kore.  The Kore and Tana are kindred and can cross change components.  As are the Sen wit the Mako.

That’s a run down of the information available for the MISC Reliant series. I hope it’s been helpful to anyone considering a pledge for it.  It’s likely to go on sale when 2.4 hits the Live Server.

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What's All This Voice Attack Stuff?

WHAT’S ALL THIS VOICE ATTACK STUFF?

With the interest in Voice Packs seemingly on the rise, while Cloud Imperium Games is continuing to refine Star Citizen’s control schemes, I thought it would be a good time to discuss Voice Attack in general and why some players have elected to use it.

If you’re like me, a HOTAS user, I simply don’t have enough buttons on my device to support even the minimum set of commands I want at the ready. My current setup also doesn’t support having the keyboard within a reach that’s effective to be used during combat. So I was elated to come across the idea of using a program to carry out a few basic commands.  This article will help you differentiate between VoiceAttack, Profiles and Voice Packs, and where to find additional information if interested.

WHAT IS VOICE ATTACK

As an ability, voice attack is a method of using your voice to initiate keystrokes.  The name is a bit of a misnomer. The capabilities are not tied to attacking / damage. It’s any set of keystrokes. You can launch a game. Establish your starting setup in an application. I use it to start and stop Fraps recordings so I can stay in the thick of combat and capture video using my voice.

VoiceAttack (VA) the program,  is a popular software application used to execute by voice, commands that would normally be a series of keystrokes and/or mouse interactions. Therefore, if you’re interested in playing around with using voice initiated commands, your first step is to acquire the software.  You can purchase VA from here. The object that VA uses to know what to DO when you SAY certain words or phrases is a Profile.

WHAT IS A VOICE ATTACK PROFILE

The Profile is a separate file with a .VAP extension.  The profile itself contains a series of commands you want executed, mapped to what you’ll say, when you want those commands to be carried out. Oftentimes, people want the successful execution of command followed to be up by an auditory confirmation.  This is achieved by using your computer’s operating system to turn text into speech. This allows your PC to say, “Done.” when a task is completed.  

Using the Text-to-Speech engine is achieved by using the Say command in a profile, followed by the word or phrase to be spoken. Your operating system’s Text-to-Speech engine interprets the text into an auditory response using its default voice. If you don’t like your computer’s default voice, you can purchase additional ones from companies such as Ivona. However, auditory responses are not required for a Profile to work. And you shouldn’t invest in one until you’ve determined you like using voice attack commands in the first place.

Simply having a profile of commands that match the keybinds in the target game, is all you need, after installing voice attack software. You can download Profiles for free! There are members of the community who have shared their profiles.  Of course, mileage will vary on how well they work or suit your tastes.  Search the official RSI Forums, Star Citizen section on Reddit and the internet in general.

WHAT IS A VOICE PACK

A Voice Pack is a Profile that enhances the execution of commands by adding a significant amount of voice over / audio work. This is often done using professional voice actors or celebrities and may include additional narration that is not directly tied to executing commands, such as role-play conversations. HCS offers multiple Voice Packs for Star Citizen, as well as other games.  Many players enjoy having this more elaborate version of a Profile.  It’s fun and can be more immersive. However, it’s not a required component. You don’t have to own or purchase a Voice Pack in order to use voice attack commands.

CREATING AND EDITING A VOICE ATTACK PROFILE IS EASY

To be perfectly honest, Star Citizen has more keyboard commands and uses modifier keys more than any other game I’ve played. I can barely fly in Star Citizen without using VoiceAttack.  My HOTAS doesn’t have nearly enough buttons to accommodate the bare minimum of what’s needed. Trying to reach over to a keyboard in the middle of combat isn’t something I want to juggle.  Therefore, it’s essential for me to keep my profile updated with changes CIG makes to control schemes, as they’ve done in patch 2.4.  This type of large scale change is another reason why I’ve opted for a small profile during alpha.

The steps for creating and/or editing a Profile is very straight forward. You must have Voice Attack and you must know your current keybind settings in the game, in order to tie them to a voice command.  With those two in hand, you can create a basic profile from scratch or edit one you download for free or may have purchased. I wrote an article last year detailing the steps and they  haven’t changed since that time.

I hope this helps clarify voice attack as an ability vs. VoiceAttack the software vs. Voice Packs. I use VA religiously and own a Voice Pack from HCS. During the SC Alpha however, I’m sticking to a small one I created myself that’s easy to manage and only contains the dozen or so commands I can’t live without during combat.

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Ballistic versus Laser Weapons

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BALLISTIC AND LASER WEAPONS

Star Citizen Alpha 2.4’s Item Port System simplifies customizing your ship’s configuration, making it very intuitive to experiment with varying ship loadouts. As mentioned in a previous article, one of the first things I did was change the weapons on my Sabre. That said, how did I decide on the type of weapons I wanted to use? To begin, you need to understand the difference between ballistic and laser weapons.

BALLISTIC WEAPONS

Ballistic weapons fire physical ammunition at a target. As this is a physical object with mass, it’s slowed down by the targeted ship’s shield but is able to penetrate it to do damage to the ship’s hull. The amount of damage that passes through the shield to hit the hull is based on the class of shield being penetrated. For example, an inexpensive civilian class shield may have a 40/60 split. This means 40% of the incoming damage is absorbed by the shield. The other 60% of the damage hits the hull.

Additionally, as a mechanized device, ballistic weapons do not utilize your ship’s energy to fire and generate a minimal amount of heat. If enough energy exists for the weapon itself to be brought online, that’s all that’s required. This allows you to sustain other ship components that require energy better. And ballistic don’t contribute greatly to your ship’s overall heat signature. Here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages for ballistic weapons.

Advantages

  • Hitting the target always delivers some damage to the targeted ship
  • Doesn’t consume energy
  • Emits minimal heat signature
  • Supports longer targeting distance

Disadvantages

  • Requires ammunition – which is a finite amount in the chamber
  • Ammunition costs credits and must be continually replenished
  • Slower rate of fire and velocity, causing increased difficulty in hitting highly agile targets

LASER WEAPONS

Let’s get the part where Star Citizen’s laser weapons are more akin to plasma weapons out of the way up front. I agree with the portion of the player base that prefers calling them energy weapons. A true laser beam travels at the speed of light and is therefore invisible to the naked eye. This is an energy based weapon and as such, it utilizes energy from your ship’s available pool to function. They also generate heat. How much heat tends to be directly proportional to the quality of the laser weapon, speed and damage output.

Unlike ballistic weapons, 100% of a laser weapon’s damage is absorbed by a ship’s shield. This means that before you can start damaging the targeted ship, you must do enough damage to deplete its shield first. Yes, there’s a reason why you can see where your shields are depleted and adjust, as well as see the same information for the targeted ship. Good news is that once the shield is depleted, direct laser weapon damage tends to be higher damage than a ballistic weapon of the same calibre. This is part of the design balancing act between ballistic and laser weapons. Here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages for laser weapons.

Advantages

  • Doesn’t require ammunition
  • Faster weapon speed compared to same calibre ballistic weapon
  • Hits harder against exposed target (depleted shield) than same class ballistic weapon

Disadvantages

  • Must deplete the shield before you can damage targeted ship
  • Consumes ship energy from your ship’s available pool
  • Easier to overheat and can’t overheat be used until they cool down
  • Generating heat increases your ship’s overall heat signature

IN SUMMARY

Now that we’ve discussed the basic differences, you can make a more informed decision about which type or combination you want to configure on your ships. Overall time to kill is relatively fast at this stage of the Star Citizen alpha, such that you can go all ballistic or all laser and be fine – for now.

However, as larger ships are introduced and the component system enables upgrading shields, you’ll want to balance your weapons selection against things like:

  • Most likely or planned targets – agility, likely shield strength, etc.
  • Your ship’s role in an engagement – hit fast and fluid vs. less mobile brawler
  • Your ship’s component configuration – ability to regenerate energy, effectiveness of cooling components
  • Your playstyle – how you prefer to size up and dismantle targets

In everyday situations, it may be wise to have a mixture of ballistic and energy weapons. However, if you’re a scout or doing infiltration work, using weapons that increase your overall heat signature is probably counterproductive. These are the types of circumstances we’ll have to consider as larger ships are made flight ready and the game’s mechanics mature.


Search and Rescue

Show Transcript

To provide a gaming experience that is more tactical and varied, Star Citizen has devised a limb-based injury system which includes varying degrees of damage severity and permanence.  It’s not going to be the more common scenario where after sustaining damage, a player runs and hides until his health magically regenerates to full.

In Star Citizen, various areas of the body go through damage states from Normal (no injury) to Ruined (not usable or gone).  To recover from a state below normal, player intervention is necessary. A detailed overview of the health system can be found here.

WHAT WE KNOW

If a player is incapacitated in proximity to his allies, they can be dragged to safety. Some assistance can be provided on the spot using field tech, such as the ability to stem bleeding.  However, field tech cannot be used to heal a player back to full capacity.

Beyond moderate injury or to be returned to a normal 100% health state, a player must undergo more intense treatments, such as those provided by Medbays and Medstations.  This is where Search and Rescue (SAR) comes into play. Given that Star Citizen has a permadeath mechanic, I expect SAR services to be in high demand.

Based on the Healing your Spacemen article, we know for certain that a robust SAR system is being designed. Requests to rescue players and NPCs is one of the major mission types being planned. Players will be able to send distress calls if they’re shot down or otherwise stranded in space.  A fellow player, whose ship is SAR equipped, can retrieve them and provide medical services aboard their ship.  If the injuries are beyond what they can provide, the responder can stabilize the patient and transport them to a dedicated medical facility.

Beyond what CIG has published on the topic, we know that providing SAR will range from small operations to larger player run medical services, based on the ships being developed.  They’ve talked about a large medical treatment ship being delivered in the 4th wave of Persistent Universe ships.  I have no idea what wave we’re on now but SAR capable ships are already in the line-up.

Here are the small to mid-tier SAR capable ships that have already been announced:

PLAYER SPECULATION

If MMOs have taught me anything, it’s that the vast majority of players like to pew-pew at every opportunity and even a cautious PVE carebear dies.  There will be no shortage of players needing medical attention.  Even if you die in space, there’s a possibility that your body can be healed if you receive intensive medical attention in time, which will save you a tick on your permadeath life counter. Yup, medical services will be in demand.

Even with the little, we have to go on beyond the ships announced thus far, player run organizations are forming around this career. One such group is Corporate Search and Rescue, which is 325 members strong at this point.  And there’s a SAR association for players who are in the medical/SAR career – even though the career itself hasn’t been announced.

SC backers are not short on imagination or enthusiasm for carving out their personal niche in space. Here’s a player made video illustrating what he thinks the SAR/medic role will be like in Star Citizen.  And a thread where players are discussing which ships can be used as space ambulances – no real treatment, has gotten traction.

As for me, I think SAR will be an interesting and diverse career that will also provide a lot of social interaction with the community.  I’ve already decided on commercial civilian transport as my primary career.  However, there’s always room to play multiple roles in MMOs.  I’ve picked SAR as a secondary.

I think SAR is a support role I can provide for guild/corp PVP operations or any endeavor where one of us might get hurt.  It’s also a service you can provide after the fact!  A friend is hurt while out mining, exploring, doing PVE, etc., and makes it back alive but with long term injuries. I can bring them aboard my ship to take care of their injuries, likely saving them some coin and hassle. I can also do sporadic rescue services while exploring.

DRAKE INTERPLANETARY CUTLASS RED

My decision to purchase the Genesis Starliner to accompany my goal of obtaining a commercial pilot license left me with redundant ships based on their roles.  I had a Freelancer MAX with the idea of doing salvage and hauling cargo but I missed the concept sale for the dedicated salvage ship and am not sure when/if I’ll pursue it at all now.

Lacking an exploration focused ship, I exchanged the MAX for the DUR variant, which left me with a store credit.  I also had the Aurora LN which is a combat ship but one that’s inferior to the Origin 325A I purchased.  I decided to melt the LN, which gave me full credit for the original purchase price.  Using my store credits plus $50, I bought the Cutlass Red, a dedicated SAR vessel.

It’s the smallest of the SAR ships announced thus far which is all I need.  I’m big on PVE in MMOs.  Although not typically a completionist, I like to do as much of the PVE content as possible, assuming that it’s decent.  Knowing that there will be missions specific to SAR, I decided that owning one was a something I wanted up front.  I also plan to team up with my guild from ArcheAge which contains a LOT of PVP/FPS gamers.  I think I’ll have a plenty of bodies to mend.