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.


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.


Life in Alpha 2.4

Earn 5,000 in-game currency when you create your Star Citizen account here and supply this referral code: STAR-QSVR-JFTR

Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 is live. This episode takes a look at the content available for testing.

 

Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An on-going series about the upcoming first person MMO Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.

It’s been awhile since Casual Citizen covered “playing the game” – talked about what’s going on with the game itself and not its assets. The release of patch 2.4 to the Live server brings new gameplay to chat about, so let’s!

Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

 

Setting up shop

Anyone who has followed my gaming blog over the years knows that I enjoy meaningful player housing.  Housing where having that personal space brings gameplay mechanics that impact the persistent elements of the game.  Things like being able to craft or sell items out my house.  

The closest equivalent to player housing we have thus far in Star Citizen is our ship hangars. Here we can see our ships, configure our ships and display hangar decorations and furniture we own. It’s your personal instance in space. For testing purposes, we can enter into our hangar via the game’s menu and only one exists at any given time.  When the game releases, these hangars will be located on a specific planet in a particular star system that you’ll have to travel to. It will be your ship’s garage and a place to store local inventory similar to how stations behave in EVE Online.

The fact that the game was placing my inventory automatically made the hangars feel like a generic waiting room. Like walking into a stranger’s office or home.  Patch 2.4’s new Item Port System changes that. We don’t have 100% control over where things go – certain size items can only go in slots of a similar size. But nothing is placed in my hangar that I don’t explicitly place myself. It feels more like it’s mine now. Hence the very first thing I did when 2.4 was pushed to the Live server was decorated my hangar.

I started with the Aeroview because I like the art style better. It’s has a homier feel to me. I like the observatory office’s layout. But after spending more time decorating it, I realized it was too dark for my tastes and had to return to the Revel & York.  And while I don’t enjoy it’s modern somewhat austere corporate style, I prefer brightly lit rooms and so far, Revel & York is the only hangar with bright lighting.

I got a kick out of placing my ships by hand.  Walking around placing my furniture and decorations where I wanted them. I can’t wait for more hangar variety such as reflecting the aesthetics of the planet where the hangar is located.

Configuring My Combat Ships

I had a strong dislike for the holo table. Coming from the easy to use Ship Fitting tool in EVE Online, it seemed blasphemous to deal with that thing. I’m sorry. I know that was someone’s baby and they like it…  But no, just no. Without persistence retaining my efforts made using the hellatable, I couldn’t be bothered.  The new item port system removes that barrier so I went whole-hog on trying new weapons on my primary ships.

For combat, my go to ship is the Sabre, a single seater fighter from Aegis Dynamics. There’s no interior other than the cockpit. I don’t have to worry about stowaways boarding her in the persistent universe and she’s so sexy. Such a sleek sexy looking ship.

Her original weapon configuration was two CF-117 BADGERS, which are size 2 laser weapons and two CF-227 PANTHERS which are size 3 laser weapons.  I opted to change over to using four size 3 PANTHERS for more damage and a single target pip.

Before settling on the four Panthers, I had tried replacing the two Badgers with two TARANTULA GT-870 MK3s, which are size 3 ballistic weapons. But I didn’t like the slower rate of fire on a fast ship like the Sabre. I do realize that for optimum configuration, I shouldn’t have all laser or all ballistic but at this stage of the game, it’s fine.  Instead of letting the Tarantulas go to waste, I put them on the slower moving, designed to hit heavier, Freelancer. Like the Sabre, I outfitted my Hornet Ghost with Panthers.

Interacting directly with the ship to test different weapons combinations was much more intuitive. It’s also a great way of learning what components make up your ship – the names and sizes of your ship’s components, for when reconfiguring more of our its systems is brought online.

Adjusting Voice Attack for Game’s New Control Scheme

I can not fly without Voice Attack – period. I fly with a HOTAS and there simply aren’t enough buttons to achieve even the basics.  If you’re interested in more details about the ins and outs of Voice Attack, you can find articles I’ve written on the subject in the show notes.

2.4 included a complete overhaul of the game’s control scheme. This meant that everyone’s voice attack profiles had to be reconfigured. Changes like this, which are to be expected in an alpha, are why I keep mine very bare bones. It wasn’t much of a hassle to fix mine and I decided to integrate using my own voice as A.I. responses, as early testing for creating voice pack I have considered undertaking. It won’t be a command-oriented voice pack.  It will be about lore, gameplay, and roleplay. More on that in a future show.  For now, I tested recording a few things and integrating them into my profile. I think it turned out well for a first attempt.  Here’s a small sample. A completed version will have star system information and lore.

Earning aUEC to buy my first flight suit

Hangar, ships and voice attack profile all set, it was time to hit the 2.4 persistent universe. I had one and only one goal in mind – obtain The Yeezy space suit! To know more about the origin of how the Odyssey Flight Suit was nicknamed The Yeezy, check out the show notes for a link to an article on my blog. It’s a bit started by Dan Gheesling that’s caught on among his Star Citizen followers.

Purchasing The Yeezy meant accumulating 7.3 thousand aUEC in game.  You start off with 2.5 thousand.  If you don’t have to replace or repair your ship, successfully completing 2 or 3 missions should earn enough credits. The fastest route, with the smallest risk of encountering PVP, is doing missions from the ICC Probe.  These missions occur in far-flung parts of the Yela asteroid field, which tends to be quieter than other parts of Crusader.

I took three missions in succession.  The first one was rather a poor showing combat-wise. I encountered lag when the NPC pirates spawned and created more lag by needing to capture video footage. Once things hit 15 FPS or less my motion sickness kicks in pretty hard but I was determined to finish.

My Sabre and I were able to successfully route the pirates. I even helped out another player in between my second and third mission. EVAing out of your ship in the asteroid field is pretty damn spectacular. The lighting.  Feeling the immenseness of space as you glide away from the safety of your cockpit. Interacting with objects in space to complete the missions such as retrieving voice recorders from wrecked ships, does not get old!

I didn’t spend time exploring Yela for the new wrecks with abandoned cargo that have been introduced.  But I lucked up on one.  I noticed a wreck a short distance away from where I was completing a mission. When I arrived at the location, it was a crate of premium cigars.  I quickly looted them and vacated the area.

Now that repairing your ship costs credits, I’ve noticed more players flying around with partially damaged ships. It’s actually funny to see how quickly the 2.4 changes have infiltrated the mindset of the average alpha player.  I waited until after I’d purchased The Yeezy to assess whether or not I wanted to repair and restock missiles. In the end, I did. It cost less than 1 thousand aUEC so I figured why not? I’m not interested in FPS weapons. I’m unlikely to bother with buying civilian clothes until the female avatar is in the game.

The Yeezy out of the way, next I want to complete the Comm Array mission that culminates in you being asked to defend Port Olisar. And I want to try out the pirate mechanic just once and using the hacking system and Kareah to erase my criminal record.  That’s going to be an adventure and a half!

I’m extremely pleased with the features introduced in 2.4. I’d like to spend more time in the persistent universe now.  If I can eek out the time.  I’m excited about what’s to come in the immediate future as it’s only up up up from here!

SHOW NOTES

The Show notes will contain links the articles I’ve written about using Voice Attack.  A more detailed retelling of getting The Yeezy Suit that was written from my blog and a sample of the Voice Pack I’m working on for Star Citizen.

Voice Attack Articles

What’s all This Voice Attack Stuff?
http://www.redacted.tv/whats-all-this-voice-attack-stuff/

How to Add Voice Attack Profiles
http://notadiary.typepad.com/mysticworlds/2015/07/star-citizen-how-to-add-voice-attack-profiles.html

And So It Begins.  The Road to Obtaining The Yeezy
http://notadiary.typepad.com/mysticworlds/2016/06/star-citizen-24-and-so-it-begins.html
If you’ve enjoyed this episode please consider subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up.  All the kind words and support are much appreciated.  Be sure to also check me out on www.Reacted.TV, where I’ll be bringing you newsworthy articles on Star Citizen.

As ever, be kind and fly safe.  This is Alysianah signing off until next time.

END TRANSMISSION


Top 10 Things Star Citizen Players Can Learn from EVE Online

Earn 5,000 in-game currency when you create your Star Citizen account here and supply this referral code: STAR-QSVR-JFTR

EVE Online recently revealed a long term option for free-to-play characters that doesn’t severely limit the potential for fun and meaningful experiences. And while there’s not much similar as far as mechanics go between Star Citizen and EVE Online, I think there are some valuable lessons to be learned. EVE is a no-holds barred sandbox MMO and Star Citizen will have free-for-all PVP zones with a gradual permadeath mechanic.  If there’s any MMO out there that can help players prepare their outlook and attitudes for such possibilities, it’s EVE Online!

For a look at my Top 10 list of what I think EVE has to offer Star Citizen players check out my article on Redacted.TV.


Is the Planned Star Citizen Universe Large Enough?

I just published an article for REDACTED.TV discussing the current size and composition of the known Star Citizen universe. The idea for the article came from a question asked during a recent Redacted podcast. I got the impression that players might not really have come to grips with just how large the planned universe will be.  I also included a dashboard the readers can interact with on their own to investigate the data used for the article.

It’s an interesting read for all players as it has some bearing on player professions too. Hop on over here to give it a read and let me know what you think.


Aly's World Release 1.1 - Usability Enhancements

Before charging forward with new pages, I’m implementing a few usability enhancements. This saves time for Dossier pages that are essentially using the same template. Expected completion date is September 10th.

  • Starmap Matrix Page
    • Persist the header row as the data scrolls down
    • Filters will now operate as an “and” condition instead “or” to support iterative refinement of data displayed
    • Adding New Filters
      • Type
      • Gov
      • Population (red, yellow or green)
      • Economy (red, yellow or green)
      • Danger (red, yellow or green)
  • System Composition Page
    • Improve readability and use of horizontal spacing  – rounding to 3 decimal places:  Age, Distance, Size, Axial, Orbit
    • Trim Jump Point names to remove the Star System name & hyphen off the front to reduced clipping.  Ex “Bacchus – Garron” will become “Garron”
  • Dossier Pages
    • Move description after Jump points to align  descriptions for the Star System and Celestial objects
    • Jump Points table – default to sort desc by count
    • Adding New Filters
      • Type
      • Gov
      • Population Filter (red, yellow or green)
      • Economy Filter (red, yellow or green)
      • Danger Filter (red, yellow or green)
  • Implementing Google Analytics on all starmap related pages

Please leave feedback for this release in this post’s comment thread.  Comments locked until the release is live.

KNOWN ISSUES

  1. No known issues.

Please leave feedback and issues found in the comments thread below. Thanks!