I’m all for players being able to role-play a variety of topics in games. I’m okay with elements of morality. Even including the topic of slavery doesn’t bother me. However, it does make me skittish in a game that’s going to have a lot of realism, including the ability to capture other players. In a recent article for [REDACTED.TV], I discussed what we know so far.
Here’s an excerpt…
While diversity in game-play may make MMOs go ‘round, I admit to being surprised about the planned slavery mechanic in Star Citizen. Though it’s not the first MMO to include this theme, to my knowledge it is the first where it will play out with actual avatars. This particular fact makes it creep into an uncanny valley for me. It’s not something I’d ever want to be involved in roleplaying on either side of the coin – for or against. However, since it’s a planned feature, we should all be aware of its existence.
SLAVERY IN EVE ONLINE
EVE was the first MMO I played that included slavery in a present day storyline for one of the playable races. In the lore, almost one third of Minmatars are enslaved by the Amarr Empire. This conflict is reflected in missions. Minmatar are Amarr opponents in Faction Warfare.
In EVE, this all plays out as chits in your cargo bay since outside of a player’s instanced hangar no one has an avatar. You are your ship. Non-player characters are a ship. Transporting what EVE categorizes as livestock, appears as token in your cargo bay. A line of text. A stick figure icon. In Star Citizen, however, that won’t be case as it’s a first person MMO with avatars.
SLAVERY IN STAR CITIZEN
We’re likely to see avatars as slaves in Star Citizen. Slaves and indentured servants are legal in the Banu culture. We have present day lore discussing locations where slave activity occurs. We have a ship, the Banu Merchantman, capable of “displaying cargo” from a viewing room and conducting sales transactions while aboard the ship. This doesn’t sound to me as though slavery is going to be an off-screen mechanic.
Slavery is discussed in the official Star Citizens Writer’s Guide Episode 5. You can hear a narrated version in my SoundCloud library where I narrated the entire series. This was my first attempt at narration, a precursor to Casual Citizen. The sound quality isn’t the best but should suffice for learning purposes.
The Writer’s Guide tells us that there are two phases to a slave’s induction. First they are snatched, which can happen most anywhere, even in populated cities. Next the captive is transported, which results in a variety of methods depending on the sophistication of the trafficker’s operation. They may be shipped in cages if they’re being transported in a system where slavery is legal. Or anesthetized and shipped in scan protected sleeping coffins when it’s being done covertly…
Want to read more?
Head on over to my article on [REDACTED] and tell me what you think. Is this something you’re going to engage in? Do you feel it’s necessary to support this type of storyline and game play?
Anvil Aerospace was founded in 2772. To this day, it remains one of Terra’s success stories. The company’s focus has been on delivering military-grade equipment to the UEE navy.
Initial projects were led by J. Harris Arnold, the company’s founder. Arnold was an eccentric old school designer who insisted on personally signing off on every detail and design. And while Anvil has grown to operating facilities on three dozen worlds within UEE space, it continues the tradition of CEO approval on all design changes.
Anvil’s entry into the civilian market is relatively new. While there had been internal debate over the company making this move, the UEE weighed in favorably on the idea. The government thought outfitting civilians with military-styled capabilities was a prudent cautionary measure for solidifying our general defenses. Equipped with Anvil ships, these pilots could be called upon as local militia, especially in distant frontiers.
Downsizing military-grade designs for civilian specifications was a complicated task. The UEE wanted civilians to be capable of being called upon as local militia without being capable of contesting government forces. Anvil rose to the challenge, delivering the Hornet series. The Hornet F7C was delivered to the market and contributed to a 34% increase profits.
Anvil’s success story continues. Their military contracts for Hornets and Gladiators necessitate several thousand be delivered to the UEE on a monthly basis. The superiority and quality of the civilian Hornet series has made it a luxury brand that is only outsold by the RSI Aurora and Origin Jumpworks 300i series. It remains to be seen if the civilian version of the Gladiator will be met with the same success.
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BANU STAR SYSTEMS
Caveat: This is the Beginning
Star Citizen’s feature set and lore are evolving. This article is based on what we know now. The information in the Star Systems section is based on the current ARK Starmap. I think it’s safe to say that the high level configuration of the known Star Citizen universe is locked for release. Cloud Imperium Games has already started shipping the physical star maps to players who purchased them. That said, we know that economy, population and locations of conflict will change as the universe progresses and players begin impacting it. Therefore, this discussion is the likely starting point for the Banu species.
Banu aligned star systems account for 7% of the known Star Citizen Universe. Which means that they govern 6 of the 90 known systems. That’s small compared to the UEE’s 42%. All of the Banu controlled systems contain high populations. As traders, they take action to accommodate and cultivate customers traveling through their spacelanes. It’s not uncommon for them to build flotillas to support pockets of consumer traffic to encourage the development of trade hubs. From an economic perspective, they’re holding their own with only 30% of their systems falling into the low economy range. This compared to 100% of Vanduul systems and 70+% for the UEE.
Banu Star System Economy and Population
ARK Starmap classifies Economy, Population and Danger on a Scale of 0 to 10
Banu Governed Systems
Banu Systems Account for 11% of Available Asteroid Belts and 11% of Gas Giants.
Composition of the Banu Star Systems
Click here to see a one-page view of the charts looking at some of the ARK Starmap data for Banu Star Systems. The left side represents all known star systems. The right side only includes Banu star systems. This data was extracted from the live ARK Starmap hosted on Roberts Space Industries.com and imported Tableau, which is an analytics tool.
BANU AS A SPECIES
Our first encounter with the Banu occurred in the Davien system. In 2438 an independent nav-jumper named Vernon Tar, opened fire on what he thought was another privateer trying steal his meager claim in the system. The pilot of the other ship turned out to be Banu. Luckily, the incident didn’t lead to any deaths and became humanity’s first introduction to the Banu Protectorate.
Bacchus is believed to be the Banu’s home world. We say “believe” because the they haven’t been forthcoming on the subject. As with most Banu systems, their trade lanes are always packed with travellers from across the universe. Permanent flotillas are built anywhere they find a confluence of potential customers. The Banu are the traders and lore hounds of the Star Citizen Universe. As such, it makes sense that they would be the manufacturers of the prize among deep space merchants, the Banu Merchantman. A vessel that is more of a lifestyle than a ship.
Early Concept Art of the Banu Merchantman
Banu societal beliefs and principles are dictated by The Council, their religious leaders located in the Trise system. Members of The Council intentionally remain isolated from the rest of Banu society. It should be noted that their belief system supports and participates in indentured servitude. The Kins system is their primary slave trade market. This is a dangerous systems. As much from the slave trade, as it is from illegal activities undertaken by those visiting the area.
The Banu Political System is a Republic of Planet-States, each run under its own set of governing laws. The representatives of each planet gather for a quorum to debate legal and trade issues that affect the entire species. Otherwise, each planet is left to their own devices. The lack of a central government, formal or required communication between the planets and loose historical recordkeeping, means that Banu planets are rife with crime. Criminals can migrate from one Banu planet to the next when things get too hot. And since the UEE is forbidden from crossing borders to pursue wanted felons, Banu worlds are also a haven for human criminals and syndicates.
The Banu do not maintain a standing army. Local militia keep the peace within their systems and they’re not especially selective. Even criminals can and do serve. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this makes the Banu worlds an easy target. On the contrary, they have the means to muster a formidable fighting force if necessary.
Lastly, if you want to vacation Banu style, head to Yulin. It’s a popular destination for Banu and humans. Yulin’s mix of unique planets have been turned into an entertainment mecca with legal and illegal diversions. After seeing Earth and Terra, exploring the Banu systems will be high on my list of things to do.
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The Vanduul are one of humanity’s most dangerous foes in the Star Citizen universe. They’ve attacked us unprovoked for centuries. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and star systems abandoned to their constant marauding. Check out my article on REDACTED to learn more about the history of our relationship with the Vanduul and the systems they’ve conquered.
Where it All Began
For many citizens, the name Drake Interplanetary conjures up images of ships whose silhouettes don’t look aerodynamically balanced. And the ne’er-do-wells and criminals flying them. Pirates. Drake hasn’t helped change this perception by naming its ships things like Cutlass and Buccaneer. And their the cheesy billboards featuring overly endowed woman, dripping sex appeal all over the newest starfighter they’re showcasing, doesn’t help much either. When you’re not seeing Drake’s in-your-face adverts, it’s yet another newsvid about investigations into their criminal ties.
Drake’s keystone design is the Drake Interplanetary AS-1 Cutlass. Incredibly inexpensive, Drake Cutlasses are used across the galaxy for thousands of different roles. From search and rescue ambulances, to mining prospector conversions, to short hop food transports. The modular nature of the Cutlass means it can be anything to anyone. Including those skirting the law.
Beyond its modularity, the Cutlass’ claim to fame is that it’s built from common parts. This makes it an affordable ship to replace for those who are living a lifestyle that no longer offers the benefit of purchasable insurance. Drake Interplanetary incorporated soon after the success of the Cutlass. Lead designer Jan Dredge became CEO, with a seven member board, consisting largely of aerospace engineers who had worked on the project.
Drake is not the surname of anyone involved in the project; it was selected as an acceptably “smooth-sounding” name, chosen specifically in the hopes that it would make their spacecraft more appealing. This was the first of a series of money-over-all decisions that would quickly come to define the company.
Drake Sets Up Shop in Magnus
Another factor that swaying the UEE’s belief that Drake is in some fashion associated with criminal activity, was their decision to locate their corporate headquarters and key factories on Borea in the Magnus system. At the time, Magnus was a desolate and lawless system, peppered with ghost towns and people living on the fringe of the space frontier. Locating on Borea, was yet another seed planted in the garden of their outlaw image. Regardless of the UEE’s assumptions or those of more polite society, within five years Drake was the fifth largest spacecraft manufacturing concern.
However, with the galaxy in a relative level of peace, or as close to peace as it had ever been – Vanduul raids at the time were disorganized and the UEE military was in the middle of a several year stand down. Who was buying thousands upon thousands of Cutlasses? The answer, of course – pirate organizations. The affordability of Drake ships created readily replaceable spacecraft that fit a pirate’s budget, and thanks to its larger-than-average cargo hold , they could also transport pirate booty.
It eventually became clear, though not publically acknowledged, that Drake had made a deal with the devil … but the money was too good to turn back. It’s rumored that in looking toward future, CEO Dredge is authoring a plan to streamline their spacecraft lineup and clean up the company’s image. A daunting task for the modular, boxy Cutlass, Caterpillar and Buccaneer! And then there’s those ship names. Only time will tell.
For a time, Borea – Magnus II, was a barren desert world — the effects of terraforming had not yet completely transformed the planet, and a ten-year period of extreme solar flares hampered its transition to a temperate world. This increased the decay of the UEE facilities and generally reduced overall interest in resettling Magnus. The result was an eerie, depopulated ghost world with declining structures full of refining and shipbuilding equipment considered too expensive to move elsewhere. During this period, the system’s population declined to less than 3,000, most of whom had no legal right to their encampments.
Drake’s decision to locate the headquarters and primary factories on Borea, eventually helped to revitalized the landscape. Vast tracts of empty warehouses and rusting construction yards have been modernized and returned to life from building Cutlasses and Caterpillars. All’s well that ends well and good on Drake. But personally, I’d have started job hunting when the news came around about where the offices were going.
MISC was formed in 2805. It was a merger between the failing Hato Electronics Corporation and the Musashi Lifestyle Design Unit. The merger capitalized on Hato’s network of large-scale production facilities and Musashi’s design genius.
MISC is based on Saisei in Centauri and maintains its corporate offices there. As a manufacturer, they’re known for the ergonomics of their factories, where spacecraft are robotically assembled with precision. Their central dealership facility resides there and is open to the public. It’s a location worth visiting if you’re in the area.
Centauri was one of the first systems settled during Humanity’s expansion among the stars. It was discovered in 2365 by a dedicated survey ship. Centauri III was quickly offered up at a premium to colonial outfitting groups. The result was Saisei, one of the most beautiful and well-constructed Human worlds in the UEE. Saisei is known for its natural beauty, organic construction and limited population. Fujin City is the landing point for most visitors and boasts a fully automated high volume landing zone. And of course there’s the MISC factory, which is considered a must see.
The majority of MISC’s business comes from the production of their heavy industrial division. MISC-HI is responsible for a range of configurable bulk transport spacecraft that are ubiquitous in UEE space. Their sturdy and modular designs are an industry standard for shipping among human corporations. Four standard hulls are mass produced. They range in size from the efficient Hull A the enormous Hull D.
An unexpected popularity among the Xi’An spawned an unlikely business relationship. It led to MISC becoming the only Human spacecraft corporation to sign a lend lease agreement with the Xi’An. Although the specifics of the arrangement are a tightly guarded secret, it’s rumored that Xi’An technology is used in Freelancer development. And there are claims suggesting MISC’s next line of spacecraft, will adapt Xi’An thruster technology for use in Human ships.
In recent years, MISC has turned its attention to advancing its two ship lines marked for personal use – the Freelancer and Starfarer. They’ve funneled profit from their corporate revenue to break into this crowded segment, battling against giants such as Roberts Space Industries and Drake Interplanetary.