A long-time fan and subscriber to SaltEMike on Twitch, I’ve been ambivalent to his strong feelings on the importance of looting in Star Citizen. I plan to occasionally participate in organized PVP events and NPC combat only when absolutely needed. The majority of my time will be spent exploring the specialty professions such as Data Courier, Data Hacking, running a hospital, food production, base building, RP styled commercial transport, and a traveling bazaar. How will I make time to divide my attention across all of these professions? I’ll start with doing a “30 Days as” series that does a deep dive into each. After that, I’ll rotate between what I’ve enjoyed best. After all, I plan to play Star Citizen for years, giving me time to savor each.

Most of the time Mike mentioned looting was in relation to combat which isn’t why I backed Star Citizen. NPC combat and PVP are nothing new to the MMO genre. I’ve been doing that for years, even in a spaceship owed to EVE Online. What’s new and unique, beyond the planned scope of the universe are the specialty professions which is what I backed to do. Hence, whether or not NPCs or players drop loot wasn’t a concern. That is until I played the New World Closed Beta. And now, I’ve seen the light on looting.

It’s pretty standard fare for NPCs and players to drop loot when killed. I like New World’s compromise of generating a loot drop when a player is killed versus them losing one of their items. Still, it’s the standard expectation of killing equals one or more items dropped. What New World does extremely well, which has changed my mind about the importance of loot caches is that they’re populated all over the world in logical places.

If you’re in an area that is farmland, you should expect to see crops that can be collected. In villages, towns, encampments, there should be supplies. Where there are humanoids we should see the artifacts of life, and we do in New World. No matter how many times I’d already crossed through a zone, and this is on foot mind you, I took the time to steal crops and loot caches. Even as a higher-level player traversing a lower zone, the contents have value. More importantly, there’s very little trash loot other than white gear which is still necessary for salvaging repair parts. There are no, let me sell this crap out of my inventory items. There is a nice percentage of green items in the caches too. Ones that were of a high enough tier to be upgrades or nice starters to try out a new weapon.

As I was running around grabbing caches for the umpteenth time, never tiring of the activity, it dawned on me what Mike likely meant. There are opportunities to add reasons to explore, risk combat, and revisit areas due to loot caches alone IF the loot tables are done well. I would engage in combat to defeat a ship and see what loot I could collect like in EVE Online. I would risk engaging in FPS, something I suck at, in order to loot caches exactly like I did in New World. However, if it’s going to be common crap then I’ll pass. I don’t need crap to sell for credits. I can earn that mining which is at least something I find relaxing. I’d do it for cool-looking gear but it would have to be a step up from the subscriber models which I haven’t really enjoyed to date.

I remember going out of my way in World of Warcraft to loot caches and they usually had middling content but it was something fun to do while exploring. New World has made them a core mechanic and I could definitely get behind that in Star Citizen if done in a similar vein and value. 

The recent CIG discussion on the topic didn’t go far enough to inspire me to really care about loot because it can be done poorly. I won’t care about loot for the sake of loot. The items need to be meaningful and valued for their use and utility, not their cash conversion or many of us will pass. We can make money in other ways. I really do hope it’s not the paradigm from most other MMOs where what you find amounts to vendor trash. If that was the plan, they’ve plenty of opportunities to shift gears and come up with a better implementation.

I enjoyed braving the PVP at Kareah to loot crates when they were there. Or take a missile to the face looting the abandoned wrecks. That poke around and find stuff while exploring is largely gone from the PU. I hope it comes back with a bang when it returns.