Alpha 3.1 Impressions

SHOW TRANSCRIPT  |  Also Available on YouTube

All Work and No Play

It’s been a few months since my last show and I haven’t played very much Star Citizen. However, I have spent time over the past couple of weeks, enjoying the changes introduced in 3.1. But let’s start with where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to since it all began with Star Citizen.

For me at least, Star Citizen turned out to be the gift that keeps giving. Regular listeners will know that I’ve been playing and blogging about MMOs for the better part of 20 years but until Star Citizen, I’d stopped doing fanfiction. There are many reasons for this, being extremely busy among them but lore and vision for Star Citizen ignited a fire. Taking up the hobby again and penning a few stories reminded me how much I enjoy writing short fiction.

In the intervening years since I started blogging about games, podcasts and vidcasts became the popular choice for consuming content, so I tried my hand it, as you know and found a new form of creative expression to enjoy. Resurrecting my writing and doing the narrated shows eventually led to doing freelance work in both areas. Suddenly, I’d added a part-time job into my hectic life but I was doing work that I really enjoyed. So much so, it made me wonder if there was an opportunity to push the boundaries into a new career. Well, as they say, you’ll never know unless you try.

In the past 8 months, I’ve ghostwritten over 150,000 words.
That’s 2 novel’s worth of freelance writing.

“Trying” is where I’ve been the past several months. So in addition to my day job, I’ve ghostwritten over 150,000 words. That’s two novel’s worth of freelance writing work. I’ve narrated on 115 different projects – commercials, 5 radio spots, 4 indy games and lots and lots of corporate training materials.

Some weeks have been insane, working 7 days a week and long hours but it has validated for me, that this might be something to pursue in a serious fashion. For now, I’m stepping back and deciding next steps which leaves me a bit of room for gaming. As a result, here I am again.

Nope, I don’t Give a Flip about LTI

I’m sick to death of the LTI trial of tears. For all I care, CIG can give it to all ships acquired before release or stop awarding it all together. Sure, I have it on most of my ships because I bought them during the first concept sale. But not having it, didn’t stop me from purchasing concept ships during subsequent offerings, when LTI isn’t available and there was no way to CCU into having it, such as with the 890 Jump.

Buy them or don’t.
I wish the LTI and tears over ships prices would die already!

If I think I’m going to enjoy the gameplay offered by a ship, can afford it and am willing to part with the money, I buy it. If not, it doesn’t matter what’s coming with the ship or not, it’s a no-go and I’ not buying it. To me, it’s always been and will remain, just that simple.

I agree, that no one is being forced to do anything — purchase anything. Buy it or not. Melt it or not. CCU to it or not. I’m just over the incessant tears about LTI and ship prices, in general. Hindsight is 20-20, as is quarterbacking plays from your gaming chair.

Life in Alpha 3.1

Overall, 3.1 is the best performance I’ve had since early 2.6. It feels good to see an end in sight. I’m sure we’ll have more hiccups as new technology and features are integrated but for now, it’s smooth sailing. Consistent FPS in the high 20s to mid-30s feels magical in the PU. 30s with no micro-stuttering will be amazing. Higher than that? Well, that’s the dream ladies and gents. Based on what I’ve experienced, 3.1 is a breath of fresh air in performance.

Ship, Ships, Ships.

I am all about the ships in Star Citizen. I equate ships with the classes you have in other MMOs. They are the gateway to interacting with the planned space content. I never get tired of hearing updates. I don’t get tired of seeing new concepts. It’s a treat when your ships arrive, and two more of mine landed in 3.1 – the Reclaimer and the Terrapin. Even missing their planned mechanics, it’s exciting to finally see them in the game.

Aegis Reclaimer

The Reclaimer is a beast. It looks like its role, a ship that eats other ships, for breakfast. Figuring out where to enter the Reclaimer while it was sitting on a dark platform was an exercise in patience. Finding my way to the bridge a puzzling adventure. Along the way, I toured the various rooms and compartments. The quality of the ship interiors never fails to impress. Every detail has been considered. The lighting and animation contribute to the atmosphere of making the ship feel grounded in reality. I can only imagine when it’s full of players running around, manning the various stations.

The growing concern I have, as the larger ships make their way into Star Citizen, is the sheer size of them. The Reclaimer, not nearly the biggest ship in my fleet, feels like a floating neighborhood. With the older concept ships growing in size as concept meets the reality of the space needed to support game mechanics, I’m starting to feel I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

My preference for solo and small group is my jam.
Why so many large ships??

My playstyle includes a lot of soloing and small group gaming. I enjoy large fleet operations but that’s not my bread and butter. It’s been years since I had the time and patience for the coordination effort needed to corral a large group of players. It can be like herding cats. I’d rather be off accomplishing a task or wandering into a new adventure. And yet, staring down the list of ships in my fleet, more than half are large.

If there’d been medium-size ships offered, I’d have gone that route instead. To date, however, we mostly have starter and “end game, with very little in between for the profession ships. Nothing to do about it now but see how things play out and make adjustments if my concerns remain.

Anvil Terrapin

I spent most of my flight-time scuttling around in the Terrapin. I gotta say, she floats my boat. Size, style and handling, I can see myself hurtling into danger zones rescuing players or doing fleet reconn. Several short story ideas instantly popped into my head while zooming place to place. The only thing I didn’t like so far, is that the guns on the nose are a single turret instead of separate weapons. This prevented me from swapping the T1s out for gimbal T2s. She’s not designed for combat but with NPCs interdicting me, left, right and center, I wanted an upgrade. Hrm, the ship’s description claiming that it has hard-hitting weapons is a bit suspect.

Hovercraft Fixes

I didn’t expect much from the Dragonfly. It’s not designed for traveling long distances. I purchased a pair as a way of traveling around cities and small areas where a ship is overkill. 3.1 fixed many of the issues the hovercraft vehicles were experiencing. I took mine out for a brief spin around Port Olisar and it was quite satisfying. Much more so than I expected.

Zooming around deep space, with nothing between you and the view, is exhilarating. It was surreal. I mean, c’mon, it’s a space motorcycle! We don’t see many players using them in space so when I did, ships pulled alongside me to check it out. Staring down a Starfarer in one exchange, I felt very much the bug on a windshield.

I’m suddenly looking forward to whisking through different biomes with the wind in my hair. I’m suddenly wondering if I need to buy back my Nox?

Missions

I haven’t tried them and don’t really care about them. I don’t plan on doing many game generated missions, especially of the type currently in the game. I’m waiting for content that is directly tied to the player careers I’ve pledged into – medical, exploration, luxury tourism, base building, and food production. I’m hoping to combine game generated with fulfilling player contracts when I want task directed activity. Beyond that, I more interested in creating my own opportunities and moments. So nope, haven’t tried a single mission.

Persistence

Persistence improvements have been hit-and-miss for me. Twice I was disconnected while taking a spin planetside. When I rejoined the game, I was still aboard my ship, which was awesome! Other times, I’ve DC’d while in combat and rejoined the game laying in a bunk on Port Olisar. Boo! It’s still very much a work in progress and I hope to see a more solid character and the ship with its contents and location persisting sooner than later.

Flight Model Changes

As a HOTAS user, I LOVE the flight model changes introduced in 3.1.  Flying and aiming have never felt better. I was a fan of the flight model prior to 2.6 but it didn’t take too long to reacclimate myself when that changed.

There are ALWAYS complaints about the flight model from some of the backers no matter what CIG does. This is one of those instances where they’ll never please everyone. I was surprised to hear that joystick users were kicking up a ruckus over changes I thought were great. Oh well, to each his own.

Chasing Them Rats

None of my primary career choices are on the roadmap for 2018, much to my dismay. However, by year’s end, we’ll have planetary mining, salvage, ship repair, refueling and land claims. That’s a huge injection of game-play in a comparatively short period of time. And we’re finally starting to have the makings of the MMO backers are greedily awaiting.

3.1 has added the shell for activity that brings us a few inches closer. I can sense the shift in my own attitudes about what to do when I log-in. As I’ve said, I’m not into chasing game generated checklists aka missions BUT the beacon system creates random opportunities for adventure. I’ve done a few pick-ups while out test-driving my ships, and am looking forward to the expanded options coming in 3.2. But the real signal to me, that Star Citizen is starting to feel like a game, is that I’ve been out ratting.

Now we’re cooking with gas. My gamer’s soul is ready!

Roaming the system and picking fights with NPCs is an activity I often engaged in while playing EVE Online. The end goal was looting their cargo and salvaging their ships. Ergo, earning a living from a self-directed activity. I chose the where and when.

It’s like farming mobs for crafting components in other MMOs. This activity suits my style and temperament. It’s a free-roaming enterprise that lets me explore, set up in favorite zones or pick a location purely for the convenience. I also find it relaxing and often end gaming sessions with farming comps or mob for comps.

Finding myself logging in just to do that – chasing rats, signals a shift from fiddling with mechanics and ships to logging in with an objective. And even though it’s the least of my plans for Star Citizen, it does, for the first time, resemble behavior and gameplay from other MMOs – finally. Bring on 3.2. My so soul is ready.


Gaming and Nostalgia

You can’t put a price on recapturing your childhood. The opportunity to relive fond memories or achieve the ones that slipped by is priceless. Our favorite television shows, movies, books, and games from childhood are powerful motivators. We’re more easily tempted to spend disposable income on a second chance with these than trusting the new and unknown. It’s even more compelling when it’s tied to a fond memory. Nostalgia is a powerful drug.

In recent years, we’ve seen re-mastered games and revived IPs top the charts. Even against big, new and shiny, supported by generous marketing budgets, these older and often less sophisticated gaming titles are winning the day. Games like the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Wipeout: Omega Collection and perennially remastered Final Fantasy games are making developers and publishers alike, take a more serious look at reviving successful titles of old. If there are profits, they will build it. In the face of Crash Bandicoot surpassing expectations by a wide margin, Eric Hirshberg, Activision CEO said, “You can be confident there will be more activity like this in the future…”

For the adults of today, the gaming console and PC revolution came at a time when they were young, and in most cases, lacked the funds to invest in the hobby as much as they would have liked. Unless your parents were technology geeks, which mine certainly were not, you were lucky to get a gaming console or personal computer in the first place. And the games for them came at a slow pace – birthdays, holidays and saving up your allowance.

To have a game, you had to buy the game. There were no rental shops. I sound like my grandparents, “I walked to school backward in the snow with no shoes!” The library of games at your disposal was a collection of what you and your besties shared with each other. What you owned, was yours for life if you couldn’t trade it a friend. There was no Game Stop taking in games you’d finished as credit toward purchasing a new one. For most of us, this meant that we didn’t get to play all that we would have if the opportunity to buy more were within our control.

For older adults who’ve squarely settled into the “I’m a gamer” moniker, they will spend big when they have the disposable income to support it. They’re the parents where there are multiple consoles and personal computers outfitted for gaming in our homes. They have enough games to start a rental service of their own. That’s if they’d even consider parting with them and in many cases, they won’t. Their games are stacked on shelves, labeled in boxes, soaking up hard drives and cluttering online digital libraries.

Entertainment is a big business where companies are looking to maximize profits. Funds are allocated to projects that are most likely to succeed in reaching the desired return on investment targets. The trend of capitalizing on nostalgia isn’t new, and it’s a two-way street. Adults with disposable income will throw it at things they’ve enjoyed in the past. Investors are more willing to spend on products that have a proven track record. The aforementioned doesn’t only happen in gaming. We see similar trends in other areas of entertainment such as movies. Like game development, these projects cost millions of dollars from inception to release. Taking a chance on a new unproven IP is a financial risk. If this weren’t the case, we wouldn’t see as many rehashes as we do. Honestly, how many remakes of King Kong does the world need? Planet of the Apes, The 10 Commandments, re-booting Batman again, our favorite comic book heroes starring in the small and the big screen are all predicated on this same trend, as are the proliferation of serialized books and movies. If we liked it once, we’ll take a chance on savoring it again. The money you may not have been allowed to spend back then, you’ll throw at your favorite something now.

Even with new chapters of life added, Legenda of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is appealing to older gamers and their nostalgic love of the franchise. The release of the most recent Zelda title was so successful, that it outsold its primary target console, the Switch, by selling 2.76 million copies as of March 31, 2017. More of the game sold than the console? Yes, enthusiasts are buying multiple copies in households with a single console or buying a copy for the Nintendo Switch and the Wii U. For Nintendo, Breath of the Wild in the U.S. is their fastest-selling release title of all time and fastest-selling game in the history of the Zelda series. That’s the power of nostalgia, something no marketing budget can touch.

The ability for remastered and revived games to beat the competition isn’t confined to new games and IPs. Newer titles with a successful first release and good reviews can falter in a market where reliving our childhood is claiming our spending dollars. Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2 and Titanfall 2 all struggled in 2016,  not hitting any of the major “Top Games of 2016” lists in an environment where Final Fantasy, Zelda, etc. were claiming market share.

On the flip side, wanting to capitalize on past glory isn’t always a path strewn with sunshine and rainbows. As I’ve said, making games cost hundreds of millions of dollars per title in development. If the studio isn’t making money in the interim, potentially big contenders will be lost by the waste side, nostalgic or not. Two games in development with legions of nostalgic fans who were eagerly awaiting a new release were Fable and EverQuest, the latter being the one of the longest-running Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) in history. Both of these had their revivals abandoned in 2016. Much to the chagrin of many, I’m sure.

As an adult with discretionary funds at my disposal, I have plenty of the things I wanted as a child but couldn’t have for whatever reason. And I have none of the things I didn’t like but had plenty of because my parents said so. Oh, the joys and privilege of being an adult. It’s a good time to be a gamer. It’s a fabulous time to have money to spend on this particular hobby.

Are there games from your youth that you’re still hoping to see revived? Which are your favorites among the ones that have been given a new lease on life?


Alpha 3.0 Speculative Trading Aides

Rather than edit these player made aides for speculative trading, into every post I make on the topic, I’ll compile them in this one article. Please note that I am not the creator of these tools. Use them at your own risk. I’m merely sharing what others have offered to the backer community to use. Refer all questions and comments to the Reddit threads associated with each tool. Enjoy!


Alpha 3.0 - Ups and Downs of More Trading

UPDATE: List of player contributed >> Speculative Trading Aides

Another round of play-testing this first iteration of the trade mechanics in Star Citizen Alpha 3.0, highlights the difficulty of using features when the mechanics and other surrounding aspects of the game are incomplete. Having worked in engineering and product development, I understand the true nature of an alpha where many may not. If patience and rolling with the flow isn’t your forte, experimenting with this fledgling version of trade might not be for you.

The Good

  • Very little money is required to get started.
  • See new locations while potentially earning money.
  • Helps you become familiar with the available locations.
  • Enjoyable for players who like the meta of finding profitable commodities.
  • Satisfying for those who enjoy a grow your wealth mini-game.

The Bad

  • There’s no ability to price check other than flying to a location.
  • Illogical combinations of buy/sell prices exist at some trade hubs.
  • Cargo placement in some of the ships is awkward and blocks walkways because it doesn’t make logical use of the available space.
  • The first iteration of the navigation starmap isn’t great, and the last thing you want to be doing is fiddling with it while you have a cargo hold full of goods you’d like to deliver before something horrible happens.

The Ugly

  • The one big ugly beast in this scenario is that there’s no safety net to protect you from losing what you’re carrying on your ship if the game crashes or disconnects. It goes poof along with whatever you spent to purchase those goods.
  • Fear motivated selling, as a result of the always looming possibility of losing your cargo due to game issues. You may feel pressured into selling at a loss or less than optimal prices versus taking your time to visit other locations for a better option.

None of the above is horrible; it’s alpha. New patches reset everything anyway.

I logged on with the desire to see how much I could increase my wealth in two hours.

I started my gaming session with a meager 6.3K aUEC. This amount represented a 1.3K earning from my first round of trading. My previous route plan having proved profitable, I started out using that as the basis for this journey. You can read about my first experience with trading here. I went to the Trade Kiosk in Port Olisar and purchased approximately 2K in goods. The items on my The Bad and The Ugly are why you don’t invest everything in a single run.

Now that players are actively engaging in pirate behavior it’s important to remain situationally aware when approaching your ship. The Cutlass Black, like many ships, only has a rear ramp entrance. Unfortunately, this means that when I open it for myself, another player could race aboard ahead of me, hop in the pilot seat and abscond with my ship and goods. It hasn’t happened to me, but it has to others, much to their dismay and rage induced postings on Reddit and the forums.

I’ve played my fair share of PVP games and sandbox MMOs. Situational awareness is key. Don’t open your ships if someone is hovering nearby. Don’t linger on the landing pad after you’ve entered. I keep my head on the swivel. If someone is milling around, I don’t open the ship. Once I’m in the pilot’s seat I lift off IMMEDIATELY. It’s safer to hover high above the landing pad even if the ship is locked. Players can glitch through the physics grid and into your vessel via turrets and airlocks.

At my first stop things do not go as planned

The first stop on my trade route is Levski on Delamar, a planetoid-sized asteroid temporarily added to the Stanton star system for testing. Delamar belongs in Nyx. You can click the links provided to see more about these systems on Aly’s World.

I like traveling to and arriving at Levski. It feels like flying into a real planetary hub and community. Given that the facility is inside an asteroid, you have to communicate with Air Traffic Control to have the doors on a landing bay opened so you can enter. When I made my way to the terminal to sell the goods I’d purchased at Port Olisar, I met with disturbing results. All of the buy prices were for less than I’d paid to obtain them. And I’m not talking about a little less – HALF.

Here’s where fear-based selling kicks in. Delamar is the furthest location in the game right now and has less than optimal performance. Do I sell at these drastically reduced prices to recoup some of my money? Or do I risk carrying the goods elsewhere looking for a better price? Furthermore, do I still purchase what’s on my list to obtain from here for my next location, possibly compounding my loss if things go tits up?

Price volatility strikes. Wah-wah

The idea of selling at a 50% loss at my first stop didn’t sit well with me. I decided to hold on to the goods and purchase the items for my next stop. With an additional 1K of merchandise on board, I headed to Daymar.

Daymar is my favorite location added in patch 3.0. There’s something intrinsically beautiful and soothing about this arid, barren landscape steadily swept by swirling winds. Like it, as I do, I hate landing there at night. It’s pitch black as you’d expect space to be but the ship external spotlights needs some work. They’re barely a candle flame in the dark. Landing to sell at Kudre One on Daymar produced the same results as Levski. All of the buy prices were down. Now there’s a rising panic of carting around merchandise worth half of my wealth in a ship that can go boom from a player, game glitch or me crashing in the dark.

Facing no profit at KO, I immediately headed to Bountiful Harvest which is relatively nearby. I happened to recall that it Bountiful has a Trade Kiosk. Not all of the locations do. But BH offers no comfort. They will only buy one of my items and still at a loss. Feeling as though I’ve pushed my luck with this load of merchandise, I cringed as I sold my Processed Foods and headed back to Port Olisar.

I arrived safely back at Port Olisar feeling deflated

I breathed a sigh of relief landing safely at Port Olisar and decided to screw parking my ship legally. I landed on the closest pad and gave the Air Traffic Control tower my middle finger when they warned me to move. I told them what they could do with that crime stat levied for illegally parking my ship. I sat there thinking while they moved it into a hangar and auto-ported my character inside.

I ran around to the different terminals at Port Olisar checking buy prices for the goods still aboard my ship. They didn’t want the merchandise I’d bought at Kudre and weren’t paying much to buy back their goods.

Off to Grim Hex to make a deal with the devil

Bummed, I watched chat for a few minutes. Answered a few questions for new players. Chimed in when another player was talking about taking a loss on his goods and being stuck with other merchandise. Someone suggested they try Grim Hex which seemed to buy most anything. There was no guarantee it would be at a profit, but at least it would be off his ship. Hrm. I considered the idea of Grim Hex.

Did I want to leave the cargo sitting on my ship or sell what I could and call it game over for the day? Grim Hex wasn’t far. I could take one last shot and sell it all regardless of price to be rid of the cargo. My hesitation was that Grim Hex is the location where criminal players spawn. These are players who, for the most part, have illegally aggressed others. You can routinely read complaints about people shooting up ships on the landing pads since outside of the main complex it’s a weapons-free zone. Whatever, I decided to give it a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I recalled my ship and headed to Grim Hex.

I was pleased to find a waypoint for GH on the starmap. Before patch 3.0, you navigated there on your own, hunting for it inside the asteroid belt. When I arrived, I saw one ship on my radar hovering a short distance away from the landing pads. There was no way to know if they were coming, going or ganking. I sat a respectable distance away from them and watched. When I saw them leave, I approached.

GH is a bit of a shithole which is by design. It’s an abandoned facility now inhabited by criminals. I guess no one wants to pay for lighting the damn landing pads. Weak ship lights and barely any external lighting, makes it difficult to land fast, in a place where having your ship exposed any longer than necessary can lead to it being destroyed. I descended quickly, recklessly and rushed inside. Once again, FU, Air traffic Control Tower.

To my bitter disappointment, while GH would buy everything I had on board, none of it was at a profit. UGH. I sold it all anyway, ready to be done with the affair. While scanning through the purchase list, I saw one item I’d seen in posts where people were talking about making a lot of money selling it. However, I didn’t remember the sell location. Plus, I was worried about it being reduced profit now if a lot of players were doing it. Continuing to scroll through, I saw an ore that struck me as being multipurpose and useful. Hrm, logic said, it seemed like it a material needed most anywhere. Nope, not naming it. You’re on your own there. I took a deep breath and invested half of what I had left and raced like the wind with it back to Port Olisar. Bingo! It sold for twice what I’d paid for it. Hands sweating, I decided to head back to GH and do an all-in buy for the item while the profit was good.

Start your engines. Houston, we have a winner!

On my next trip to GH, I arrived to find three ships hovering around. I didn’t have anything to lose aboard my ship, but I didn’t want to have it blown up regardless. I shut down my engines and waited. Within a couple of minutes, two of the ships began fighting each other, while the third sped away. I used the opportunity to land and get safely inside. I filled my cargo hold to capacity and raced back to the landing pad, my heart hammering in my chest.

I started the engines quickly, zoomed off the landing pad and went max thrust into the asteroids. I opened the starmap and set it to Port Olisar as fast as I could. While my quantum drive was spooling, my heart fell into my stomach when my ship A.I. announced, “Missile lock!” But it was too late for whoever had targeted me. I jettisoned away in a plume of Quantum Drive animations. Whew! Feeling buoyed by recovering my losses and then some, I made one more trip to the devil’s playhouse. Having narrowly escaped destruction the last trip, this time I reverted to only spending half of my funds. I made it back to Port O safely and sold the goods which brought my wallet to 18.6K aUEC. Yes! I ended the gaming session with 3x more than where I’d started.

I was elated to have a triumphant ending to another trade adventure, one that was fraught with decision points and conflict. Player professions and the economy are what keep me in any MMO long term. I’ve played too many of them to be entertained long term by NPC checklists aks missions. Sure, I’ll do them as a means to an end, but this is the gameplay I’m looking for albeit not this particular profession.


Alpha 3.0 Brings First Iteration of Trading

UPDATE: List of player contributed >> Speculative Trading Aides

Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 introduced the first iteration of cargo hauling and trading. Although these professions aren’t ones that I will be pursuing long term, I know that that they are popular among the game’s backer community. This first iteration of cargo hauling is carried out by doing game generated missions. In the future, players will be able to create contracts for cargo hauling requests.

There are cargo hauling missions to pick up specific items and deliver them to an identified location. Recover a black box, recover crates, retrieve and dispose of waste,  actual pick-up and deliver tasks, etc. These missions represent simple go-fetch quests you find in many games and allow CIG to test basic hauling mechanics. The locations for pick-up and delivery vary between wreck sites in space, crash sites on one of the moons, space stations, or planetside hubs. The ones that I’ve seen so far pay very little in comparison to the cost of items you might want to purchase for your character. However, I’m sure all of this will be balanced over time.

What I spent my time doing was investigating the ability to do freelance trading. I prefer the freedom of choice and ability to incorporate this activity with other pursuits such as exploration. If you want to give this a try, it’s fun, but there be dragons.

There are bugs and persistence isn’t complete. I see posts from players who’ve lost all of their money trading. Don’t let that be you.

As to be expected, this first release of 3.0 is buggy. It contains a lot of new technology and foundational features. If you’re not careful, these bugs can cause you to lose money that can only be replaced by grinding out missions. Players can’t trade money or goods with each other yet. Run out of coin and you’re on your own to earn it back. Additionally, the current implementation of persistence isn’t complete. The only aspects that are genuinely persistent at this time are the condition of your ship and a player’s personal inventory – your ships, weapons, gear, and money.

Missions themselves do not persist!

Theoretically, you can log out in the bed aboard your ship and respawn back aboard that vessel. However, this only works if you just happen to log on the same exact server, a choice that is not in your control. If not, like the days of old, you’re back at Port Olisar. Additionally, nothing to do with missions persists. Not accepting them, partially completing them or turning them in. You must start, complete and collect your earnings from a mission all in the same gaming session. I mention all of this because people are going broke conducting ad-hoc trading because of the limited persistence at this time.

Game bugs might not be your worst enemy. Players are already doing piracy. Always keep enough money in reserve in case you run into a defect that causes you to lose your cargo.

In most cases, if you disconnect from the server, experience a client crash or log out with cargo aboard your ship it won’t be there the next time you log into the game. The merchandise is gone, and of course, there’s no way to get your money back for it. Poof. Consequently, if you’re going to do trading which requires you to purchase items on spec and transport them to a location that wants to buy it, never go all-in on one load. You must also consider the implications of PVP. Yep, there are players already doing piracy. If they destroy your ship, some portion of your cargo is left lootable. They must carry it aboard their ship crate-by-crate and can then sell it.

TRADING BASICS

Trading is easy as far as what you need to do. Choosing a profitable item and arriving at your destination safely, not so much. There are three major hubs in the persistent universe – Port Olisar, Grim Hex and Levski. All of them have commodity kiosks.

  • In Port Olisar, which is where law-abiding citizens spawn, it’s right near the ship deck. You’ll see an administration area with one operational terminal.
  • At Grim Hex, where criminals arrive in the game, you need to take the elevator to the Core. When you exit the elevator look for a poster with RSI ships. Next, to them, you’ll see an opening. Follow the seedy little corridor to the end and go inside the sealed room. There you’ll see the Admin Office and trade kiosks.
  • At Levski, make a left after passing through customs and go to the end of the corridor. It’s along the wall by the windows, right next to the Admin Office.

Commodity availability, prices and payout are dynamic.

Availability of items, prices, and payouts are dynamic. It’s impacted by how many other players are trading the same goods. No one location has all or buys all of the available commodities. You have to plan what you want to sell and who’s willing to buy it. Although this information is highly subject to change players are collecting lists of buy/sell information and sharing it with the community. Here’s a link to a recent list that I’m using.

Not worried about profits just yet, I used a commodities list to plan my trade route which included locations I wanted to explore more of, as this is how’d I’d do it in the released game. My trading will be opportunistic; done while doing luxury transport, exploration or science-related activities. Knowing the places I wanted to visit, I looked to see which was selling commodities that one of the others would buy. This provided me with a list of what to purchase/sell at each stop. I organized the locations into a logical order and included redundant sell options. Voila, I now had a route plan.

I did a few trial runs of a simple trade route without losing my shirt.

The first time I ran the route, I bought small quantities of two items, made the trips and sold the items when I arrived at the appropriate destination. The second time, I got a little bolder but ended up biting my nails halfway through the run when server performance started tanking. Luckily, I sold all the goods before the server died.

The third trip, I returned to being more cautious and luckily so. With one more delivery to make I lost connection to the server. Fortunately, I’d already landed and stored my ship along with its cargo. I was already on foot, heading to the Administration Office to sell the goods when I was disconnected.

Bad news? The disconnect left my ship at Levski while the game returned me to Port Olisar when I logged in. Good news? I could see that my cargo hold still had 6 units of cargo on board. More bad news? Three attempts to return to Levski all ended with disconnects. With Delamar being one of the furthest locations from Port Olisar, it’s not exactly a quick trip. After the third disconnect, I decided to call it quits for the day. It will be interesting to see if the cargo is still aboard my ship the next time I play.

Disconnects withstanding, I ended the session with more money than I had when I started.

It was a decent showing for the first implementation of trading. There are players rolling in millions of aUEC from doing it. I ended the day with more than I started with and may still have goods I can sell at Levski next time I can get there. *grumble-grumble* All in all, it was entertaining.

A reminder that only a tiny slice of Stanton is implemented in the persistent universe today. All of this activity takes places around Crusader, one of the four planets found in the Stanton Star System. You can see the lore and an AU map of the system on my website.


Odin - Featured in Squadron 42 Vertical Slice for 2017 Holiday Live Stream

Aly’s Interactive Star System Dossier Page for: Odin

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Odin is one of the star systems players will encounter while completing the single-player campaign of Star Citizen, Squadron 42. It was featured in the 2017 Holiday Live Stream that demonstrated a vertical slide of Squadron 42 gameplay.

Odin was made uninhabitable when its star degenerated into a white dwarf. The system remains inhospitable for long-term human habitation and has instead become a haven for outlaws due to the dangers of traversing the systems electromagnetic storms. Hardcore miners and salvagers have been known to risk the dangers of these storms to harvest resources in the local asteroid belt nicknamed, The Coil. Here’s a link to the official Odin Galactic Guide.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Encountered in gameplay during Squadron 42
  • Mineral-rich mining opportunity for those willing to risk the electromagnetic storms
  • Black market guns and military grade surplus available for purchase
  • Locals import bulk foods and medical supplies
  • Opportunity for science vessels to study arc charges from the deadly electromagnetic phenomenon
  • Parts of Gainey, the system’s destroyed moon, still hovers near the planet
  • Contains a gas planet with large number of refineries

KNOWN JUMP POINTS

  • Kellog (Large)
  • Nyx (Large)
  • Tanga (Medium)

MAJOR LANDING ZONES EXPECTED

  • None currently listed in the official ARK Starmap


Terra - Shining Jewel of the UEE

Aly’s Interactive Star System Dossier Page for: TERRA

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Terra is considered by many to be the shining jewel of the UEE.  Its supporters would like to see Terra replace Earth as the seat of power, culture, and influence. As to be expected, die-hard Earth loyalists are staunchly against such a shift. Amid this struggle for supremacy, Terra has continued to thrive with the influx of mega-corporations and a populace looking to capitalize on its lush environment and abundant natural resources.

The Terra system was first charted in 2508.  It was explored as part of a five-system research expedition in 2516. When the long-distance images of its third planet were reviewed, it was immediately recognized as a phenomenal find. Terra III was a natural super-earth located in the system’s green band. Colonization opportunities were immediate. Within two years several colonial equipped ships had been dispatched.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Alignment: UEE
  • Habitable Planets: 2
  • Space Stations
    • IAS Hammett
    • ICS Evolen
    • INS Reilly
  • Asteroid Belts: 2
  • Gas Giant: 0
  • Ice Giant: 0
  • Jump points: 7
    • Goss (M)
    • Hadrian (L)
    • Magnus (M)
    • Pyro (S)
    • Stanton (L)
    • Taranis (S)
    • Tayac (L)
  • Points of Interest: 6 (see Aly’s Lore Table Below)

HISTORY

The Terra system was first charted in 2508.  It was explored as part of a five-system research expedition in 2516. When the long-distance images of its third planet were reviewed, it was immediately recognized as a phenomenal find. Terra III was a natural super-earth located in the system’s green band. Colonization opportunities were immediate. Within two years several colonial equipped ships had been dispatched.

An even greater discovery awaited mankind.  The Terra system’s unique location and makeup had produced a jump point hub. Like Sol, Terra is a G-type main sequence star. However, the lack of mass diffusion caused by gas giants and the center location of the system’s star, extremely stable jump points arose easily.  With Terra III being a super-earth rich in resources and a hub of stable jump points, the systems rise in influence and popularity was inevitable.

  • Aero (Terra I) – A non-descript rock world incredibly close to its star that is rich in certain minerals.  However, it’s proximity to the system’s sun has made harvesting these resources unsuccessful.
  • Pike (Terra II) – The mining efforts on Pike are a masterpiece of Human engineering. It’s one of the most mineral-rich planets in the galaxy.
  • Terra (Terra III) – The capital city of Terra is Prime, a beautiful bayside megacity built on the foundations of two of the original colony ships.
  • Gen (Terra IV) – is an inhabited world. This smaller planetoid, the outermost in the system, was terraformed roughly a century after Terra’s initial settlement and is now home to the diplomatic and military aspects of the system’s government.


Sol - Humanity's Birthplace

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Earth is part of the Sol System.  It’s the cradle of Humanity, the heart of the Empire, birthplace of mankind. Being the origination of our history, it has remained mired in an “earth first” mentality, even to the detriment of other systems. It is the home of the Imperator, Senate and is the seat of power in the UEE.  It also exhibits a steadfast policy of supporting native-born humans above all others.  Earth sets the standards for everything that happens in the Empire. It’s the model for our economy, social trends and logistical planning of military campaigns.  After nearly a millennium of space travel, Earth is pockmarked with starports.  Three of whom have taken the throne as significant centers for importing and exporting goods.  New York in North America, Moscow in Europe and Shanghai in Asia.

Link to Aly’s World Star System Dossier Page for Sol

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Alignment: UEE
  • Habitable Planets include Earth and Mars
  • Tod Kesner Space Station which is a large trading hub
  • INS Dunleavy Naval base
  • IMS Bolliver a restricted Marine base
  • Contains two asteroid belts: Herschel and Kuiper
  • Gas Giant: Jupiter
  • Ice Giant: Neptune
  • Jump Points: Crowshaw (Large) and Davien (Large)
  • Known For:
    • Earth’s Historical landmarks
    • RSI headquarters and Museum
    • Idris manufacturing in Shanghai
    • Bengal carriers orbiting earth
    • Large volume export shipping in Moscow
    • Illegal cyborg upgrades in Shanghai

HISTORY

Earth is part of the Sol System.  It’s the cradle of Humanity, the heart of the Empire, birthplace of mankind. Being the origination of our history, it has remained mired in an “earth first” mentality, even to the detriment of other systems. It is the home of the Imperator, Senate and is the seat of power in the UEE.  It also exhibits a steadfast policy of supporting native-born humans above all others.  This often puts other systems at an extreme disadvantage which has led to distention is some parts of the empire.

Earth sets the standards for everything that happens in the Empire. It’s the model for our economy, social trends and logistical planning of military campaigns.  After nearly a millennium of space travel, Earth is pockmarked with starports.  Three of whom have taken the throne as significant centers for importing and exporting goods.  New York in North America, Moscow in Europe and Shanghai in Asia.

The vast majority of Earth’s natural resources have been consumed. As a result, the system brings in trillions and trillions of raw metals, food, manufactured merchandises and all things imaginable. If it weren’t for the enforced “balanced prices” policy, keeping the prices less competitive, this would have been a perfect situation for any shipping mogul. As it is, dashing to Earth can hardly be guaranteed to deliver more than a 5% income, and that is before you get to the overpriced refueling and docking fees for spacecraft carrying additional systems’ registration numbers.

Earth is safe, to an extreme. The UEE military, Advocacy and a number of police arms guard the system constantly, and they’re infamously unbending when it comes to grueling wrongdoers within the system. There’s no quicker way to get an enormously high reward on your head other than to break the law, even a minor breach within space close to Earth. The military ports in Earth’s orbit are home to no fewer than five Bengal class shippers, and at least one is dry docked at any specified time.

EXPECTED MAJOR LANDING ZONES

New York

New York is the cultural capital of the UEE, an intergalactic tastemaker and a celebrated blending of both old-style architecture and ultra-modern arcology construction. Most visitors immediately take note of the historical landmarks protected by a thick layer of domed visicrete, allowing such institutions as the Empire State Building and Central Park to continue to exist amidst a modern landscape of massive super-towers.  New York is also home to the famed Roberts Space Industries headquarters complex, featuring a showroom and museum. Many visitors make it a point to pay their respects upon arriving in the port, celebrating RSI’s involvement in introducing mankind to the stars.

Moscow

Moscow is a no-nonsense kind of town with more of an urban blue-collar vibe and is a major distribution center for manufactured goods.  In particular, jump engines and thrusters produced in the factory complexes that span the Urals. Goods are moved into the city for dispersal to the stars through a system of high-speed transport trains. Down on their luck spacers can always find hard work in the Moscow dockyards, which account for the vast majority of Earth’s export shipping.  The city tends to have a taste for the opulent, and luxury goods sell as well as anything can on Earth. Traders are advised to ship high-end electronics, artwork, high-quality foods and various non-offensive black market items to Moscow before trying to turn a profit running guns or metals.

Shanghai

The largest starport in Asia, Shanghai has retained more of a link to the surrounding environment than the vast cityscapes of Moscow or New York. Though still a bustling metropolis, Shanghai is your best chance of seeing a bit of foliage or natural water. Shanghai boasts rail and transit lines stretching to the nearby East China Sea, a port region capable of water-docking some larger types of spacecraft. The Aegis China factory produces Idris-class corvettes and puts them through their pre-space trials in the area.  Shanghai has a need for raw materials, especially rarer extragalactic varieties. The less likely a material is to be found on Earth, the more valuable it will be on the commodities market in Shanghai.  There is a bustling black market in the city, unlike any found in Earth’s other major ports: if you’re on the hunt for illegal cyborg upgrades, try Shanghai first.


Star Citizen Races: Kr'Thak

The Kr’Thak are a developed, spacefaring alien civilization. Humans have had no contact with the Kr’Thak.  What is known to the UEE about them comes only from the Xi’An.  The Xi’An and Kr’Thak have been enemies for eight hundred years. Any attempt by the UEE to make contact or form an alliance with the Kr’Thak would likely be viewed as a betrayal by the Xi’An.

The Kr’Thak’s home system is called Krell and it is located on the other side of the Xi’An Empire, making it even more difficult to make contact with them.  They are a space-faring, nomadic race that owns several solar systems, but migrate around them.

Visit the community maintained Star Citizen Tools wiki for more information on the Kr’Thak.


Star Citizen Races: Tevarin

The Tevarin were the third extraterrestrial race to be discovered by the UEE. They were destroyed by the UEE at the Battle of Centauri on August 2, 2610 SET. Humanity’s first and second interstellar enemy, The UPE first established contact with the space-faring civilization in 2541. While not as technologically advanced as us, the Tevarin were beginning to strike out into the universe.

A proud, martial society, the Tevarin wanted what we had and struck first. While the battlegrounds never threatened Earth or Terra, what the Tevarin lacked technologically, they more than made up for in strategic brilliance and endurance, causing the war to last over four years. The turning point was the infamous Battle of Idris IV, which introduced a young officer, Ivar Messer, to the populace of the UPE. After the Tevarin defeat, the UPE terraformed the Tevarin systems for Human colonization. The remaining Tevarin were either absorbed into the UPE or fled to the Banu or Xi’An systems.

Visit Star Citizen Tools wiki for more information the Tevarin.