Character Progression

SaltyMike’s weekly show, Answer the Call, discussed a topic near and dear to me. What do you consider progression in an MMO? As a new generation of gamers joins the market, where jumping from game to game has become the norm, many have lost sight of the varying play styles that exist. In what I consider the Golden Age of MMOs, when Everquest I, Asherson’s Call, Ultima, and the alike reigned, there were frequent discussions about the different player motivations, aka play styles. We hadn’t entered the cookie-cutter theme park phenom burgeoned in by the juggernaut, World of Warcraft. 

I have a love/hate relationship with Blizzard as being the best and worst thing to have graced the genre.

World of Warcraft introduced many thoughtful standards that now define MMOs, while simultaneously bludgeoning individuality with a spike studded meat clever. On Richard Bartle’s taxonomy, I’m an Explorer with self-defined achievement conditions who is occasionally social.

I can thrive in sandbox games because I prefer to define my existence to whatever extent the game allows. I enjoy creating my own adventures while acheiving goals. My class, profession, knowledge of the game, its meta, analytical thinking, ability to identify opportunities that I can mostly achieve alone, is what excites me. Playing with others as a defined group is when I wear my semi socializer hat, which represents only 25% of my gaming time. All I need are the core mechanics, interesting lore, compelling environments, some freedom of choice, the ability to interact with other players to earn a living, and I’m good. I don’t need game generated checklists or a player-controlled economy to thrive.

Based on Marczewski’s user types, I’m a Free-Spirited Achiever, where autonomy and mastery motivate me.

I’ve been flitting solo through your MMOs since the very start. It’s often challenging, especially in the old days. And still, it’s a preference. I like defining progression on my terms. Sure, I’ll group up when the need arises, such as dungeons, but leveling is something I’ve enjoyed doing alone. 

Silent me, roaming through a fictional world, with an inner dialogue going of who I am, what I’m trying to achieve, and why. I have short and long term goals, with a method to my madness. I start the session with the musts. What should I do right now that will help me further my goals? Followed by, is there something outright fun that I’d like to do? And ending with farming, a task I find quite soothing, as it lets me wander the game harvesting in favorite zones while chatting with org mates. It’s an ideal session for me. Take care of business, have fun doing whatever, clear my head to decompress. Gaming session over.

Nothing about the way I will play Star Citizen is about grinding for ships. They’re a tool, like picking a class or player profession. They’re not the end goal or the objective. Fostering exciting player interactions that are efficient, fun, and profitable is the objective. Grinding to buy things? Nah, that’s what I do in the real world. There is no right, wrong, best, or worst. There’s no definitive only this is progression or only this fun. Others have their play style, and I have mine. What’s character progression to you?

Gone Mining

The thing I refused to do in EVE Online because it bored me to tears, is what I’m doing the most in Star Citizen. Mining, one of the few player professions currently in-game, is the one I find the most enjoyable. It’s not on my long term list, but it fits the bill for an activity I can perform without game directives. AKA I don’t need missions to have content.  If I’m not in the mood to mine I’ll occasionally do bounty missions for a bit of combat. Sometimes I play the market with commodities trading, what currently passes for cargo hauling. Otherwise, I’m peacefully drifting in space aboard my favorite ship, the Origin 890 Jump.

What I enjoy about mining is similar to the professions I backed with ships and am waiting to arrive. It’s content that’s undirected. I can go wherever I choose in pursuit of the activity. Or it’s an activity where other players are the primary source of the game-play. 

  • Mobile field medic on an RSI Apollo.
  • Running a floating hospital on the Hope. 
  • Farming aboard the Endeavor.
  • Exploration flying the Carrack.
  • Luxury RP tours on the 890.
  • A mobile service station on the Venture.
  • Roving specialty goods trader on the Merchantman.

No missions. No artificial grind. I don’t have the time or patience for traditional game generated checklists anymore. What I enjoy most about MMOs is logging into a well conceived world and making my own fun. This has been possible even in theme park games like WOW due to player professions. Like EVE Online and ArcheAge, there are enough sandbox elements to suit my brand of gaming – lots of solo entertainment for the quiet time I need and group content for on the weekends. The introduction of the Argo Mole allows mining to fit the bill for both types of activities.

Drifting Alone in Space

With my backpack and handing mining tool equipped, I climb aboard my Misc Prospector. I pick the planet, moon, or asteroid belt I’m in the mood to explore, set the route, and let the adventure begin. At least half the time it’s just me the game and my thoughts. Other times I have a favorite streamer, vidcast, or podcast playing beside me on a tablet. Fully relaxed, decompressing, peacefully drifting along. 

I choose which nodes to mine. When to hop out of the ship to hand mine gems. Stop to watch a sunrise or sunset. Wait out a snow or sand storm. Fly back out of the atmosphere to chase daylight for better visibility. Remain unphased by the encroaching darkness, continuing on my way undisturbed. 100% my choices and pacing. All taking place in a meticulously rendered sci-fi world. 

Yes, some days it feels like development is taking forever. We live with bugs, workarounds, and delays. I completely disconnect from it if I start feeling annoyed. I don’t want to ruin this journey before its really even begun. This is likely the only MMO of this scope we’ll see for a very long time. There isn’t anything close to what’s planned that I could play today. So we wait because a good session in SC is like magic. That feeling of wonder and awe of materializing in my first MMO with the kids. Those games are far and few, so I take the simple pleasures as they come in SC, and for now, it’s mostly drifting alone mining.

You can take a look at my earlier posts to see more about Star Citizen’s take on a mining mechanic.

That 890 Jump Life

I haven’t had and still don’t have much time for gaming. The amount of work and stress in my new role, at my new employer, is a bit staggering. On the bright side is that I enjoy the work, the people, and my role. There’s a lot of satisfaction gained from achieving the level of work that we’re producing. However, lots of process improvements need to take place to reduce the chaos, on top of every team being over-committed and understaffed. That classic corporate tale playing out yet again.

When I have had time to play, the Q3 3.7.x patch has breathed new life into the game with hand mining, in-game ship rentals, ship purchases, caves, the 890 Jump. For me, the Mack Daddy improvement is consistent ship logout and re-spawn. 

One of the things I’ve despised since the PU arrived was the Super Mario re-spawn at a static point mechanic. It’s anathema to being in a so-called persistent universe and forces players to restart their adventure each time they log into the game. This is the opposite of a persistent world and how MMOs work.

Logging out via the bed in your ship has been in Star Citizen for a while but never worked consistently. 3.7 corrected that issue. Once I verified it was working reliably, I wanted to use the mechanic to become acquainted with the first capital sized ship in the game, my Origin 890 Jump. I’m happy to report that I’m still faring the skies of Stanton aboard the same instance of my 890 since the 3.7.x patch.

Learning My Way Around

The 890 is a superyacht that sails in at a whopping 210 meters of pure luxury with 64 rooms at your disposal. You can hear a small overview of the 890 Jump when it was merely a concept, on my YouTube channel. Amenities include sumptuous captain’s quarters, (4) guest suites, bar, dining, executive conference, sauna, swimming pool, fully decked out kitchen, medbay, crew quarters with entertainment areas, cargo bay and a hangar. That’s a whole lot of ship. My only complaint is the overly sterile style and lighting. I wish the entire ship had the ambiance from the sauna and pool area. I’m looking forward to when we can customize the interiors a bit. My plan for the 890 is to do luxury RP style tours, run Murder Mysteries parties, and dinner theater. My goal, for now, is to simply enjoy the ship, become intimately familiar with the layout and how she flies.

Living Among the Stars

I backed Star Citizen to live among the stars with only passing sojourns to exotic planetside locations. I would have been happy with the initial plan of just having the capital cities and hero landing zone locations. I don’t want an apartment or permanent housing situation on a planet – zero interest. Outposts? I’ll be thrilled to build them for others using my Pioneer. For me, I’d only consider it if I can farm produce to supplement the food production I plan to do on the Endeavor.

Having consistent bed logout has been amazing. I’ve done a whole lot of nothing but enjoyed it nevertheless. I loaded my Dragonfly hover-bike and the Prospector mining ship on the 890. With those two on board, I’ve been roaming the skies and moons of Stanton. I hadn’t bothered with the ArcCorp moons. There was nothing of interest for me to do there until now. With the 890, I set her down where I choose and disembark with the Prospector to scan for hand-mined gems. I use the Dragonfly to drift above the planet or moon surface, looking for the new harvestable items.

What I’ve enjoyed the most, however, is merely parking my ship wherever I want when I need to log out. The next time I have a few moments to play, I have, without fail, been returned aboard my ship every time. The amount of time in between sessions doesn’t seem, or the logout doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve logged out parked next to Port Olisar, floating next to an R&R station, in the middle of space or engines off parked on a planet, and it’s been flawless. I even crashed twice and have been successfully recovered aboard the ship – back in the medbay, which seems so apropos. It’s a small but meaningful step forward that the persistent universe is finally starting to actually feel like a universe.

Area 18 Arrives

Area 18, originally introduced in the Social Module, was the first lore location that supported multi-player interactions. Sure, you could mess around in Freeflight but that was just an empty space. Area 18 on the other hand, was a bonafide location with content – shops, a bit of exploration and RP opportunities. It was our first taste of seeing an area move from concept into a physical location.

I spent many hours in Area 18 doing a whole lot of nothing and I enjoyed it.  I watched the planes go by. I observed other players running around. I danced and chatted inside G Loc. I used the map hack to fly a Merlin around the skyline and visited the Million Mile High Club. Again, I’m not a roleplayer. I consider my style one of deep immersion. I’m me, living in that world, making choices that match my value system, having adventures and making friends along the way.

Hanging around in Area 18 inspired me to write my first piece of Star Citizen fanfiction, Bryony’s Dilemma. That tiny glimpse of what could be provided such a visceral example of where that game was headed, it sparked a lot of creativity. I’ve missed Area 18. It’s where I really started bonding with the game beyond the mechanics and ships. For me, visiting the location, now part of an actual planet felt like coming home.

It was like taking a stroll through The Fifth Element. I was part of Ghost in the Shell, patrolling the streets at night. Departing the spaceport on an assignment in Blade Runner. They nailed it. Blew it out of the water. Burst it out of the park.

I considered Lorville impressive but the fact that I never visited it again after seeing the new content because I find the train rides annoying, had me a bit worried. I backed to be in space. Planetside content doesn’t enamor me outside of the hero zones. I became a bit concerned that if I felt so little interest in a place as impressive as Lorville, damn, I’d probably wouldn’t bother with the cities at all.

What I realize now, is that I didn’t connect with that particular environment. In the same way that like I don’t enjoy some cities or neighborhoods, in real life – they simply don’t interest me enough to make the effort to go back, some Star Citizen locations will be the same.

I know that I will be hanging around in Area 18. Distance and all. Shuttles and all, it will be my home base. I’ll simply refrain from doing content that sends you back and forth a lot to avoid my nit about using the shuttle during commercial transport activities. Experiencing ArcCorp, I’m extra excited to see the other star systems with very different aesthetics, wondering what I may enjoy even more. Goodbye Port Olisar.

Female Avatars Added

As the 2018 roadmap progressed, I became more vocal about the absence of female characters. Yes, I understand the technical challenges and their desire to do it right. Regardless, as a female backer, it did become a thorn. I’m not a roleplayer by any means. I am, however, strongly immersed when I play MMOs, so my characters matters. If you backed Star Citizen for all the planned content outside of ship combat and FPS, it’s still very slim pickings to play-test on a regular basis. Not even having a character to represent the gender you prefer playing, was simply another ding. Alpha 3.5 ends the missing gender debate.

It’s a marvel how CIG can deliver the first iteration of something in such a stunning fashion. Is the female avatar bug-free? Of course not. The alterations of her frame impacts all of the existing gear, her height vs. in-game assets and such. For example, my Concierge Monocle sits up in her forehead, I can’t see over packages when I’m carrying them and I can tell I’m shorter when standing at the ship terminals. Regardless, the quality of the female model can’t be denied. She looks feminine and yes, even sexy. But it’s done in a respectful way.

Combined with the DNA character customization, I was very pleased with the outcome of my character. For players such as myself, the character is as important an element in game-play as every other mechanic. Finally walking through the world as myself felt awesome and inspiring. I hope we get to a point, sooner than later, where you can save the character like we can our keybind profiles, to help persist them through wipes.

Alpha 3.3.5 - Stanton

With all the new backers arriving and trying to acclimate themselves to the persistent universe, I thought it would be a good time to do a brief overview of Stanton. I read and hear confused and misinformed answers about where we are within the Star Citizen universe at this time.  For a longer overview, you can take a look at an early more detailed I did last year on YouTube.

Why Stanton?

When we consider the crowdfunded scope for the Star Citizen universe, there are 100+ star systems planned. The persistent universe we’re currently enjoying as part of alpha is the Stanton star system. It contains four Super Earths – Hurston, Crusader, ArcCorp, and Microtech, all of whom have tidally locked moons of their own. Stanton’s biome diversity is one of the reasons it was selected as the starting point for persistent universe development.

Official Lore

Stanton was originally discovered by independent explorers. Although the details are fuzzy, most agree that the star system was discovered by a free agent trader. Word of mouth, spread the tale, of a system that contained four Super-Earths. Privateers moved in to capitalize on this extremely rare find. Planets of this size, all within a wide green zone is unusual in its own right.  Combined with the large variances in planet ecologies, even more so. When the existence of Stanton came to the attention of the UEE, they moved in quickly to claim eminent domain. The official reason was to protect and extend nearby jump lanes.

Unfortunately, the original settlers of Stanton hadn’t formalized their colonization by filing the necessary paperwork.  Largely made up of homesteaders, prospectors and survivalists, the local populace had no legal rights to Stanton and certainly weren’t in a position to dissuade military forces when they arrived.

The uniqueness of the system and the potential resources notwithstanding, the UEE was in the midst of huge economic struggles. A down economy from a hundred-year colonization drought, the UEE could only afford to do the bare minimum to claim its new prize. Naval engineers performed the small amount of terraforming required and underfunded military outposts were established. Lacking funds to do more, Stanton wasn’t developed further.

Eventually, the decision was made to sell the system piecemeal to the highest bidders. Large corporations were discreetly contacted and asked to bid on whole planets. It’s believed that the winners must have bid trillions to acquire rights. The winners did the obvious, naming the planets after their corporations – Hurston Dynamics, Crusader Industries, ArcCorp, and MicroTech

Stanton as of Alpha 3.3.x

As of Alpha 3.3.5, the persistent universe was expanded to include the first of Stanton’s planets, Hurston, its moons and capital city, Lorville. Unlike the locations we’ve seen thus far, Hurston contains multiple biomes. There are also bodies of water and underground bunkers. While Lorville is still incomplete, it’s a must-see location that introduces a working railway system and habicubes with interactive objects. More locations are being added over time.


The addition of Hurston brings the landing sights to:

  • 1 planet
  • 7 moons
  • 2 asteroid based locations
  • 1 starbase
  • 2 space stations

This doesn’t include CryAstro fueling and repair of the various Truckstops located around Crusader and Hurston. It’s also worth noting that Delamar’s presence in Stanton is temporary. Delamar belongs in the Nyx star system, a dangerous unclaimed star system. However, it was placed in Stanton for testing purposes when its tier 1 development completed. You can find a more in-depth overview of Nyx on my YouTube channel as well.

Alpha 3.3.5 - Hurston is Magic

As most will realize, Star Citizen is still in its alpha phase of development. Many of us had hoped, things would be moving along a bit faster. There is no shortage of complaints about the plodding and sometimes painfully mundane pace at which content was being released in 2017. And for all the waiting and need for polish eschewed, as to why a feature isn’t being released for testing, there are still significant bugs on Live. Yep, there’s no shortage of complaints about CIG and Star Citizen, even among loyal backers, myself included.

I spent two days and several hours trying to get out of the new city, Lorville, after 3.3.5 went Live. It didn’t make me angry. It was so absurd that it became a comical challenge to Escape Lorville. I mean come on, players were trapped in the first city, unable to get out and explore. I laughed a lot on Twitter but there are some who didn’t find it as amusing.

Yes, development is taking longer than most would like. Bugs hang around for a long time, even ones that break gameplay for some. Personally, I refuse to do missions at this point. I’m not a fan of game generated checklists, to begin with, let alone subject my gaming time to ones that are broken. All of that melts away, in the face of what was delivered in Alpha patch 3.3.5.

  • Waking up in a habicube that looks considerably more realistic as a place someone lives in.  
  • The rudimentary interactions available inside the rooms give us a glimpse of where things are headed.
  • Riding the train from one part of Lorville to the next.
  • Seeing the imperfect but improved NPCs co-populating the city.
  • Having a drink at a bar and taking it with you as you continue on your journey.



Until now, I haven’t given a damn about clothing since there’s still no female model. Seeing other players walking – not running, walking around in civilian clothing changed my mind. Now I strut around in my Concerige outfits and made my way to Tammany & Sons to buy a few more things to wear. No, I’m not happy that we lose chat if not wearing a helmet since that’s an unnecessary negative side effect of wearing civilian clothing. One that I hope, they will change in short order. It’s fun seeing other players starting to roleplay now that we have our first planet with an atmosphere.

As the first city on the first planet implemented in Star Citizen, only a relatively small part of Lorville is accessible. Regardless, there’s no shortage of spectacular views.

  • Watching the everyday activities of those living in outer space.
  • Seeing the underbelly of how Hurston Dynamics runs the planet like a slumlord, doling out slave wages and workers living in filth and pollution. You know this type of scenario would and will exist if humans become an interstellar species.
  • Walking into an active hangar – NPCs and services around you.
  • Departing during the day to see the cityscape.
  • While leaving at night is like seeing Paris lights.
  • Alone, surfing sand dunes in the dark.

It’s coming together now. We can see it. Feel it. It’s just around the bend.

One trip in particular really gave them feels. I’m standing there in my semi-steampunk looking gear on an alien planet. Tallgrass is swaying while the wind blows around. It’s fading from dusk into darkness and I’m staring up at the night sky. I mean come on, I haven’t and can’t have this experience in any other MMO. None. You simply can’t name one with this scope and breadth.

This is magic…  It’s extraordinary…  Why we keep the believing…  This is Star Citizen.

Star Citizen Alpha 3.2

Excitement abounds for Star Citizen Alpha 3.2. In addition to new ships, such as the first luxury yacht to roll out of the showroom, the Origin 600i, we have the first iteration of the mining mechanics. Quality of life improvements is also addressed with updates to the party system and quantum travel. Things are really heating up in the development now, with many new game mechanics and professions slated to be introduced in 2018.

Casual Citizen EP 31 – Alpha 3.2 PTU

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?


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 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.