This is Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds gaming blog with another episode of Casual Citizen. A series about Cloud Imperium Games’ ambitious crowd funded games Star Citizen and Squadron 42. The goal is to help casual follower or players understand the games and stay abreast of important events.
For as much information as Cloud Imperium Games has on the Star Citizen game site, figuring out what’s currently playable, flyable and how to join up, isn’t an easy task. For casual followers of the game, it can easily become information overload. In this episode we’re going to focus on unlocking the mystery of how to become a Star Citizen.
Let’s begin by reiterating that Star Citizen is FAR from a completed game! Star Citizen is using an open development process that allows supporters to play test content as it becomes available. Players who choose to participate in this process can provide CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK that contributes to improving the breadth of testing that’s possible and in some cases, refine how mechanics are implemented.
That said, remember that we are not shareholders or part of the Cloud Imperium Games development staff. Whether or not to utilize feedback being provided is ultimately up to them and their collective vision for the game as a whole. The reasons behind some of their decisions may not initially be apparent to us, as we’re only seeing tiny slices of mechanics at a time. That ends my personal disclaimer in hopes that if you do choose to fund Star Citizen and participate in play testing, you’ll behave as a positive influence in our growing community.
As of this recording, the only way to have permanent access to play-test Star Citizen content being released to backers, is by purchasing a GAME PACKAGE. Game packages currently include a ship, alpha and beta PLAYTEST access to Star Citizen, first episodes released for Squadron 42, a ship hangar and other digital assets depending on the package.
The variance in package prices reflect the ship or ships being included in the pledge you’re contributing toward development. Remember that ships being purchased now can be acquired in-game without using real life cash once the game releases. The primary reason to pledge/purchase now is to fund the development of the game. If you’re not into play-testing alpha quality content or early access games, this scenario isn’t for you. Stop now – beyond here be dragons. It’s better for you to wait for the beta or released game than becoming disgruntled, upset and foaming at the mouth over alpha quality content.
If however, you possess the willingness and patience then listen on, we’re glad to have you come aboard.
Conquering RobertsSpaceIndustries .com
Choosing the Fly Now option is the easiest and lowest costing method of obtaining a game package that is regularly available.
Fly Now presents you with two $45 USD options for backing Star Citizen.
First up is the Aurora MR which is actually one of three ships in the Aurora line. The MR is the middle of the road choice between a combat focused ship and low price point ship with cargo capacity.
The other option is the Mustang Alpha. A fast ship often used for racing. The Mustang can also stand up to combat. But it wouldn’t be my first choice as a dedicated combat ship.
You may see people talking about the Star Citizen Starter package. These are limited offer packages that are discounted to $30 USD and only offered during special events. If you really want to play-test NOW I wouldn’t wait around for one. If you’re on the fence, then keep your eyes open for the next special event or sale where these will be offered. Be forewarned – the Star Citizen Starter packages tend to sell out very quickly when restocked.
Fairly recently CIG has added a Squadron 42 pre-order package which is essentially the Aurora MR Fly Now package but is only available until Squadron 42 releases in 2016. At some point in the not too distant future they will remove Squadron 42 as a standard part of game packages and sell it as a stand alone item. Therefore buying a game package NOW is the cheapest you will ever be able to buy both games and participate in the play test.
In summary, the easiest and cheapest way to become a Star Citizen and have permanent access to play test content and the first release of Squadron 42, is by purchasing one of the two Fly Now options which are the Aurora MR and Mustang Alpha.
Other Game Packages
Don’t blackout from sticker shock when you see the price tag on some of the other Game Packages. These are for people who want to contribute that much to the game’s development in exchange for the contents of those packages.
I suggest that until you know more about what you want to do in Star Citizen, you stick to the ships in the $45 to $100 USD range. If you want to contribute more at a later date, by way of acquiring a large ship, you can upgrade your existing ship using the Cross Chassis Upgrade system that I’ll discuss in a future episode.
All you need to know now is that you will get 100% purchase price CREDIT on any ship you buy. You can in turn use the credit to upgrade to different ship in the future. This means you have nothing to lose by starting small until you know more about the game and whether or not it’s really going to float your boat.
In case you couldn’t help surfing beyond the Fly Now options, let’s discuss things you might consider even as a casual citizen. Unfortunately is rather easy to become confusing about what you’re purchasing if you free roam the “All Game Packages” section of RSI. Let’s discuss what’s there at a high level but don’t you dare take a gander at “All Ships” yet! You must learn to walk first little duck. You are not prepared for what lurks under “All Ships”.
The “All Game Packages” section contains all packages that are purchasable as pledges to fund Star Citizen. However, not all the ships are ready for play testing. And this is what trips some people up when trying to pledge.
“Flight ready” ships are viewable in your hangar AND are available for play-testing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re 100% in their final release state. Remember THIS IS ALPHA. Things can and will continue to change. However, enough of the design and technical implementation have been defined and developed, that these ships are ready to be used on a regular basis. Say this with me…Flight ready ship means I can use it now.
A second category of ship are those that are only “hangar ready”. “Hangar ready” ships are viewable in your hangar but ARE NOT ready for play-testing. The development pipeline classification allows you to see your new toy inside your hangar. You can go inside the ship’s cockpit and/or interior to see a preview of the design intent. Note that these ships often contain placeholder elements so don’t become concerned if an interior element doesn’t look as high fidelity as something else you’ve seen. This isn’t a finished ship.
When you own a ship that is only “Hangar Ready” you will have a loaner ship available to fly but that loaner won’t be sitting in your hanger. However, when you go to join any module that contains flight options the name of a ship you don’t actually own will be in the list for you. That’s your loaner and you’ll have access to it until your ship is “Flight Ready”. In summary, Hangar Ready means you can see it in your hangar and walk around inside of it but it’s not flyable and even its visual aspects may contain placeholder elements.
Another classification of ship that is frequently discussed, so you should be aware of is a “Concept Ship”. For all intents and purposes, these ships are still at the “on paper” stage.
The ship’s intent is known but it’s VERY early in the design process. A good amount of players do pledge for concept ships because of their special roles, which are usually tied to specific professions. If you know for sure that you’re interested in something like mining for example, and want to start out with a mining ship, you could have purchased the Orion concept ship, which is the first dedicated mining ship introduced. At concept means, there’s nothing to show you but pictures and possibly a design document discussing its planned implementation and in-game mechanics. Generally speaking, these ships are a long way from being made “Flight Ready”.
Players who’ve pledged by purchasing concept ships also receive a loaner ship to fly but nothing will be sitting in the hangar for that ship until it’s “hangar ready”. So… Concept ships are for people who are really sure about their commitment to playing Star Citizen and have a strong grasp on what they plan to do. These ships are furthest away from being delivered and there won’t be anything to see but pictures online. You won’t have anything related to the ship in your hangar but you will have a loaner available in any module that has ship flight.
PLEASE make sure you know the at least the difference between Flight Ready, Hangar Ready and Concept Ship, if you’re going to move beyond the “Fly Now” page to make your first pledge.
If that brief explanation left your mind twisted and triggered a bout of terrets, stick to my advice of starting small. Get yourself a package that contains a flight ready ship until you understand what’s going on more completely.
Here are the ships I recommend for casual followers just starting out.
From the Fly Now page you have the Aurora MR or Mustang Alpha for $45 USD. Go for the Aurora MR is you want more variety in capabilities in the Persistent Universe, as it has cargo space.
If you’re a bit bolder step beyond Fly Now and have a look at ….
- A different Aurora ship. The Aurora series actually has three variants. Aurora CL has reduced defensive capabilities but more cargo capacity. The Aurora LN is a dedicated combat ship. The MR from the Fly Now page is the middle ground between the CL and LN.
- The ORIGIN JUMPWORKS 300 series offers the 300i touted for scouting and bounty hunting. The 315P with exploration capabilities and the 325A focused more on combat capabilities. The 300 series packages go from 65 USD to 80 USD.
- The Avenger is also an excellent starting ship. It’s equipped for combat and contains holding cells if you want to do Bounty Hunting. However, if you have a strong inkling that you may want to try hauling cargo, note that this variant has no cargo space available. However, there will be modules available at a future date that allow you to customize this ship’s focus. For now, if you want cargo space purchase the Titan variant, which swaps the holding cells for a cargo bay.
Good Lord. I don’t know about you but that wore me the hell out. Just outlining all of this as talking points was a brain teaser, so I can imagine how complicated this can all feel if you’re completely new to Star Citizen.
I’m going to call it quits here. Be sure to check out the show notes for the RSI links I’ve mentioned as well as videos from other Star Citizen content creators that are relevant to today’s episode. If you do sign up to become a Star Citizen and feel this content was useful please consider using my referral code found in the show notes. I’ll earn some in-game goodies and you’ll be given 5K UEC to spend in Voyager Direct store.
In the next show we’ll discuss what there is to play-test in the current Live version of Star Citizen and what’s all this “multi-crew ship” stuff people are drooling over. We also go where there be dragons to review the ship upgrade system.