This Game is in Development!
Let’s begin by reiterating that Star Citizen is FAR from a completed game! Star Citizen is using an open development process that allows supporters to play test content as it becomes available. Players who choose to participate in this process can provide CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK that contributes to improving the breadth of testing that’s possible and in some cases, refine how mechanics are implemented.
We Are Not Stockholders. We Are Not Shareholders.
We have contributed funds to the development of Star Citizen. However, we are not shareholders or part of the Cloud Imperium Games development staff. Whether or not to utilize feedback being provided is ultimately up to them and their collective vision for the game as a whole. The reasons behind some of their decisions may not initially be apparent to us, as we’re only seeing tiny slices of mechanics at a time.
As of this article’s publication date, the only way to have permanent access to play-test Star Citizen content is by purchasing a GAME PACKAGE. Game packages currently include a ship, alpha and beta PLAYTEST access to Star Citizen, a ship hangar and other digital assets depending on the package.
The variance in package prices reflect the ship or ships being included in the pledge you’re contributing toward development. Remember that ships being purchased now can be acquired in-game without using real life cash once the game releases. The primary reason to pledge/purchase now is to fund the development of the game. If you’re not into play-testing alpha quality content or early access games, this scenario isn’t for you. Stop now – beyond here be dragons. It’s better for you to wait for the beta or released game than becoming disgruntled, upset and foaming at the mouth over alpha quality content.
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Choosing the Fly Now option is the easiest and lowest costing method of obtaining a game package that is regularly available. Fly Now presents you with two $45 USD options for backing Star Citizen. This option is available here.
Other Game Packages
Don’t blackout from sticker shock when you see the price tag on some of the other Game Packages. These are for people who want to contribute that much to the game’s development in exchange for the contents of those packages. Here’s a link to the packages page on the RSI website.
I suggest that until you know more about what you want to do in Star Citizen, you stick to the ships in the $45 to $100 USD range. If you want to contribute more at a later date, by way of acquiring a large ship, you can upgrade your existing ship using the Cross Chassis Upgrade system located here.
All you need to know now is that you will get 100% purchase price CREDIT on any ship you buy. You can in turn use the credit to upgrade to different ship in the future. This means you have nothing to lose by starting small until you know more about the game and whether or not it’s really going to float your boat.
Hangar Ready vs. Flight Ready vs. Concept Ship
In case you couldn’t help surfing beyond the Fly Now options, let’s discuss things you might consider even as a casual citizen. Unfortunately is rather easy to become confusing about what you’re purchasing if you free roam the “All Game Packages” section of RSI. Let’s discuss what’s there at a high level but don’t you dare take a gander at “All Ships” yet! You must learn to walk first little duck. You are not prepared for what lurks under “All Ships”.
The “All Game Packages” section contains all packages that are purchasable as pledges to fund Star Citizen. However, not all the ships are ready for play testing. And this is what trips some people up when trying to pledge.
Ships are view-able in your hangar AND are available for play-testing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re 100% in their final release state. Remember THIS IS ALPHA. Things can and will continue to change. However, enough of the design and technical implementation have been defined and developed, that these ships are ready to be used on a regular basis. Say this with me…Flight ready ship means I can use it now.
A second category of ship are those that are only “hangar ready”. “Hangar ready” ships are can be placed in your hangar but ARE NOT ready for play-testing. The development pipeline classification allows you to see your new toy inside your hangar. You can go inside the ship’s cockpit and/or interior to see a preview of the design intent. Note that these ships often contain placeholder elements so don’t become concerned if an interior element doesn’t look as high fidelity as something else you’ve seen. This isn’t a finished ship.
When you own a ship that is only “Hangar Ready” you will have a loaner ship available to fly but that loaner won’t be sitting in your hanger. However, when you go to join any module that contains flight options the name of a ship you don’t actually own will be in the list for you. That’s your loaner and you’ll have access to it until your ship is “Flight Ready”. In summary, Hangar Ready means you can see it in your hangar and walk around inside of it but it’s not flyable and even its visual aspects may contain placeholder elements.
Another classification of ship that is frequently discussed, so you should be aware of is a “Concept Ship”. For all intents and purposes, these ships are still at the “on paper” stage. The ship’s intent is known but it’s VERY early in the design process. A good amount of players do pledge for concept ships because of their special roles, which are usually tied to specific professions. If you know for sure that you’re interested in something like mining for example, and want to start out with a mining ship, you could have purchased the Orion concept ship, which is the first dedicated mining ship introduced. At concept means, there’s nothing to show you but pictures and possibly a design document discussing its planned implementation and in-game mechanics. Generally speaking, these ships are a long way from being made “Flight Ready”.
PLEASE make sure you know the at least the difference between Flight Ready, Hangar Ready and Concept Ship, if you’re going to move beyond the “Fly Now” page to make your first pledge.
Beyond the Fly Now Starter Package Ships
Here are the ships I recommend for casual followers just starting out. From the Fly Now page you have the Aurora MR or Mustang Alpha for $45 USD. Go for the Aurora MR is you want more variety in capabilities in the Persistent Universe, as it has cargo space. If you’re a bit bolder step beyond Fly Now and have a look at ….