EDIT: Link to whole thing: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GzFkfApcl7CrdpFep5Y6N6oEvtUwoB_F/view?usp=sharing
Been planning to write a guide up for new players, and now that the website revamp is out, seems as good a time as any. Not a play guide (though there is a tutorial of sorts at the end), more of a general “navigate the complexity that is Star Citizen” because it is super confusing. Heaping full of opinions. It is also TREMENDOUSLY condescending and downright surly in places, so all these people I find annoying are free to stop here, because I will be calling you names. Anyways, here we go. Sources where they were easy to find and I felt they significantly contributed, but if you think I'm going to hunt through 5 years worth of ATVs and RTVs because you want to see exactly where X said Y, remember that I just wrote a 30-page newbie guide for free, so stop being an entitled brat do it yourself. See? Already condescending.
Table of contents: Some may be in comments below
(ctrl-F to find in page; if you are question is not here, please see Table of Contents on follow-up comment (because character limit)
What is SC/Why play SC?
- What is SC/Why play SC?
- Hot diggity, how do I join up?
- What game package do I select?
- Why does this game run so badly despite me having spent [rich person] amount on my computer?
- Why does this game run badly despite me having spent [rich person] amount on my computer a decade ago/Why does this game run badly on my low end PC/laptop that “definitely runs some AAA games on medium settings!
- Related to previous question, why use Cryengine if it's caused so many issues with netcode?
- What controller should I use?
- What is insurance?
- This game is cool, but my [insert ship] sucks. Is this game P2W? Do I have to buy bigger ships to compete?
- Ok, but I still want another ship. How do I do this?
- Price increases? What?
- What is the best ship? What is the best fighter? What is the best ship for [x]?
- What ship is most like Milano/Serenity/Millennium Falcon...?
- What are the professions in this game?
- Passenger transport?
- I just bought super-mega-huge Ship, and all I have is this Andromeda/Why do I have this ship I didn't buy/Loaners?
- What is the grey market? Or gray market for you American folk?
- What are the rules around Gifting/buyback?
- How do I spawn things in hangars/Items I own are missing from the hangar?
- What about console players?
- Mac/Linux/Weird ass OS?
- What are all the speeds/drives in SC? AfterburneQuantum/Jump/FTL?
- What is subscribing?
- What is Concierge?
- What is Evocati/PTU/PU/updates/bug tracking?
- Carrying other ships
- Why is X Feature not in yet?
- Why is X ship not in yet?
- Why did they change [feature/ship]?!?!?! I loved it how it was! Alternately, why won't they change [feature/ship]?!?!?!?!?!? I would love it like this!
- Any question to do with EVE
- What are all these currencies?**
- I bought an upgrade, and my ship didn't upgrade!**
- How do I outfit/equip my ship?
- HOW DO I PLAY THIS F%[email protected] game?/Tutorial?
Star Citizen is a game in development. Not the "pre-release" stage we're used to, where AAA games show a trailer and BAM 6 months later game is released; we're talking development stage where Fallout 4 was when Fallout New Vegas
was released. What we have NOW is much less than advertised, but it's already amazing. We have 3 moons to explore, each with hundreds of thousands of square kilometres, with wrecks and outposts and easter eggs, and all in a game where gameplay is routinely mistaken for cinematics (seriously, trailers are all filmed with just regular gameplay). Squadron 42, the single player game...the demo speaks for itself (https://youtu.be/BHR1aEdTA4M
). The planet sized city you may have seen at Citizencon (https://youtu.be/mGcG0g7GsOI
) is a taste of what's coming up. Eventually, we'll get even bigger planets, cities filled with NPCs, missions, unique vistas, and shipwrecks to explore. Dotted with outposts, new fauna, new flora to find or exploit...and all walkable to your hearts content.
In Star Citizen, you can go from one side of the planet, onto your bike, ride to the far side chasing the sunset, into a bustling settlement, onto a landing pad, to inside your ship, to your cockpit chair, to flying, to the orbital station, around the moon, out to interplanetary space, to the next planet over, land INSIDE your buddy's capital ship to refuel, head back out to the far reaches of the solar system, hop out of your ship, and just...hang there, floating in space, all without a single loading screen. Where you can do what you want to do, because the game lets you do it. You could spend your entire game life without sitting down in the pilot’s seat; maybe just manning a gun turret, or being an FPS marine, or mining all by your lonesome on the edge of space, or even farming your plot of land without ever leaving your home on one planet out of hundreds. Explore the farthest reaches, boldly going where no man has gone before. Assemble a fleet, and lead them against the Vanduul threat from the bridge of your massive Javelin destroyer, or have fun with the crew playing basketball. Build a merchant empire. Establish yourself as the reliable bounty hunter who always gets his man, or the pirate that always gets his booty. See all this with cutting edge motion capture, procedurally generated but hand polished planets...and then there's Squadron 42, the single player game with such A-list acting talent as Luke Skywalker, Gimli, Agent Scully, the Onion Knight, Commissioner Gordon, and Gollum; a sprawling space opera about kickass space ships, and human stories play out onboard giant kickass spaceships.
That's the plan anyways, so much of it is still on paper. Even now, most of it is still just words on a page, an outline someone laid out half a decade ago. Star Citizen is more than just a space sim, more than just a game; it's an experiment. What happens when we take away the investors, the publishers, and all the men with suits who want the game out for Christmas THIS year, because they want to see a return on their money, even if the game is half done? What happens when the programmers and artists and designers are told "Make this feature happen, come hell or high water". Things like procedural cities, or multiplayer star systems without loading screen, such things were decried as impossible, that they couldn't be done. And they couldn't, not how games are made now. AAA games today, the CoDs and assassin's creeds, they're all just recycled engines, to fit the demand for an ever prettier game released every year, for the same $60 we paid 10 years ago, despite inflation and increased development costs; reality steps in, so corners are cut, innovation reduced. But...what if it wasn't? What if we waited, and paid whatever we could to ensure that this game happened, whether it's a humble $60, or a thousand, or more? What kind of game could we make? So that's the sales pitch. You pay $60, and you get a ship, with access to Star Citizen and Squadron 42, for the entire lifespan of the game. You want to contribute more, you can get access to another ship, but it's the same ship that $60-paying player could earn in game. They could even crew (or steal) it on Day 1; it's possible the richest players will be the ones who are really good engineers, get paid doing that on the ships of others, and never dust off their Auroras in their entire lives.
But the catch is, the game isn't done. We've got some pretty ships, the flight mechanics, impressive but still basic FPS content (with matching 1st person/3rd person animations rigs), a few stations, and a lot of empty space around one planet. We have a few moons to explore on the ground, a few hours of missions, and some basic cargo, economy, and piracy. It technically works, but the network issues haven't been solved, FPS is still practically unplayable, and there are bugs enough to blot out the sun. You can trade a little bit, and there's things to find, but nothing you can call an exploration profession. It's a far cry from the dream of 100+ systems with sprawling galactic economy, an ongoing alien war, and a couple dozen careers with their own unique mechanics. There's literally nothing in game that could be considered complete enough to be “as will be in release”, and that's good, because it means they only get better. You've got to wait, and agree to wait as long as it takes, because Chris Roberts won't compromise with his Magnus Opus, like he's had to do with some many games before. It might not do everything it promised to do, and it almost definitely won't match what we've all hyped in our heads to be; it conceivably might not even get finished (though that's pretty unlikely at this stage; SOMETHING will get released, even if funding stops tomorrow). That kind of wait...it's not for everyone, and there's no shame in that; some people want a game they can play now, whether because of impatience or limited entertainment funds. They'll be welcome to join whenever it's right for them, whether that's before or after release.
You back now, when there's just a little more than hope and promises, not because you want to play, but because you want to help MAKE Star Citizen, because you want to come for along for the ride that is building a game free of publisher constraints (for good or ill). You back today because you want to show the world not everyone is happy with the same game year in, year out, with a new coat of paint, even if it means the game won't be done for a few years yet. You back today because there's finally a game that promises all of the "Wouldn't it be a cool if a game did this" we ever dreamed of, and you'll wait as long as it takes to see it.
You back today because you want to help build the Best Damn Space Sim Ever. Hot diggity, how do I join up?
What game package do I select?
- First, make sure you meet minimum requirements (Windows 7 (64bit) with Service Pack 1, Windows 8 (64bit), Windows 10 - Anniversary Update (64bit) DirectX 11 Graphics Card with 2GB RAM (4GB strongly recommended) Quad Core CPU 16GB+ RAM SSD strongly recommended)
- Go to https://robertsspaceindustries.com/enlist. Not hyperlinked because don't just click random hyperlinks by people for sites you're spending money on, as I can make whatever text I like hyperlinked to a different url. Lesson 1.
- When making your account, make sure to ask for a referral code from a friend, or a content creator you feel has particularly influenced your decision to back Star Citizen. Alternatively, use the randomizer for this subreddit to get a random referral code http://gorefer.me/starcitizen/#button to get 5000 free in game currency. You are free to add your own referral code to the randomizer for your own chance for referrals
- You will enable 2-factor authentication IMMEDIATELY. No, you will not wait till after you play, or even after you buy. 99% of the time when someone says they were hacked, it's because they did not take this elementary precaution, because they ignored prompting to do so.
- To enable 2FA, again click “account” on top right corner, click on the left most available button, and then click Security on the left nav bar (with a big ass unlocked lock on it).
- Once you have an account, go to https://robertsspaceindustries.com/star-citizen/fly-now to select a game package. A game package is a type of item which always contains a Star Citizen Digital Download, a ship, and insurance (more on this later). It is impossible to play the game without a game package. No, the cheaper versions in the stand-alone ship section do NOT grant access to the game, because if you are capable of reading at a kindergarten level, you will see that those do not contain Star Citizen Digital Download.
- You will be asked if you would like Squadron 42 for $15. The correct answer is “yes”, because did you see that Vertical Slice demo, like come on. Squadron 42 is the story focused single player experience extraordinare, Completion is also planned to have real ramifications on your character in SC (previously hypothesized was your character starting out with Citizenship, which is most often earned through military service, which non-S42 players would have to earn another way. You COULD skip S42, if you were a moron and wanted to realize a month from now you DO want S42 and then have to pay $45 instead. No, “I won't have time for both” is not a valid excuse, because Squadron 42 will be released before SC is, so all of that time is now S42 time.
- Once you own a game package, you are all set up, and ready to download the game! Make sure to install to an SSD, as performance gains are SIGNIFICANT, even compared to other games. Seriously, I would go so far as to say do not even bother installing this game until you have an SSD.
Why does this game run so badly despite me having spent [rich person] amount on my computer?
- Aurora MR: Has external cargo space and a bed, is much tankier, and will probably have longer range than mustang.
- Mustang Alpha: External cargo space, is much faster, better armed. Is also “worth” $5 on upgrade screen (will explain later), so upgrading this ship will cost $5 less. Is very buggy right now, but currently being reworked.
- There are other packages with other ships at https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/game-packages but honestly, don't. Backing early access games is not for everyone, and many people fall madly in love, only to get tired of the alpha quickly. Back the minimum amount, upgrade later.
Why does this game run badly despite me having spent [rich person] amount on my computer a decade ago/Why does this game run badly on my low-end PC/laptop that “definitely runs some AAA games on medium settings!
- Network issues. Currently, the game is sending way too much data at your CPU, trying to update everything at once. It's not optimized for multiple thread or cores, so even the most intense CPU will still have issues. You'll just have to wait for network optimizations. Don't expect anything more than FPS in the 20's for now, with periodic spikes below.
- Some of the biggest updates we are expecting in the next patch, but the necessary network developments are some of the most revolutionary work CIG is doing; literally no one has had to move this much data for a game before.
Related to previous question, why use Cryengine if it's caused so many issues with netcode?
- One, it's in development, which means optimizations haven't been done because of course they haven't, you don't get the painter working when the cathedral's walls are still going up and might have to be torn down a month from now.
- This is a cutting edge open-world game, and CR explicitly said this is for people with advanced hardware. You don't need the best of the best, but you a reasonably high tier machine.
- Also, don't upgrade just for SC, because by the time it comes out, hardware will have evolved and what we have now will be old (making that old creaker you're using a veritable dinosaur). SC's textures are also built with this in mind, so models are made such that detail can be increased as hardware capabilities do.
What controller should I use?
- When SC was first started, they had NO idea it would grow to this size, so Cryengine at first was good enough, and we got a good deal (for reasons that later became apparent).
- Of course, NO engine has ever existed that is good enough for what SC is now, Cryengine, Unreal, or otherwise. Doesn't matter what they started with, they'd be rewriting most of it.
- Could they have built their own engine? Sure, but anyone in the game industry knows that scratch-building your own engine is basically the most expensive thing you can do, and again, they had no idea of the scale they'd be building at the start of all this.
- Plus, using CryEngine worked out for us; when Crytek (yes that Crytek) went basically bankrupt and stopped paying all their developers, CIG snapped them up for cheap. That meant we had the people that BUILT Cryengine. Crytek was always a decent developer tech-wise; it's been more than a decade, and Crysis is STILL a watchword for beautiful open world games that pushed hardware to its limit.
- Regardless, CryEngine got by Amazon, who just slapped a new Lumberyard Label on it. CIG has since switched to them, which really changed nothing code-wise (since it's was mostly all rewritten code anyways), but now we get access to Amazon's amazing AWS server infrastructure.
What is insurance?
- CIG has repeatedly made it clear they want to make the game “controller agnostic”. That being said, here's how it shakes down.
- First, SC is NOT a flight sim. It is a SPACE sim. That means newtonian motion, not flying, which is a distinctly in-atmosphere activity. How is that different?
- Well in atmospheric flight, forward is a privileged direction, because you have to be moving forward at all times, or your wings don't work, and as the saying goes, you stall-spin-crash-burn-die.
- SC is in space. That means there is no reason for any direction to be more important, so your ability to move “sideways” is just as important as forward. Now, this is not strictly 100% true; we're still limited by the human body, which of course only sees forward, so all our guns are forward. Plus, g-forces are simulated, and we handle acceleration going forward better than we do going straight down. As such, our main engines are oriented in line with what we would expect for today's aircraft, and our afterburners do accelerate forward only.
- Nonetheless, the result is that we need significantly more axes of control than even other space sims like Elite: Dangerous, which cheat and make things more atmospheric-y for the purpose of making it feel more natural for regular flight sim players. A regular flight sim needs 3 and a half axes: pitch, roll, yaw, and a 0-100 for thrust.
- A newtonian space sim needs 6 axes (forward/back, up/down, left/right, pitch, yaw, roll).
- This style of control is actually going to feel arcade-y, rather than realistic, because a lot of the complications we associate with “realistic sims” are really due to relying on wings and air. Example: arcade games use yaw, real sims use roll and pitch to turn, but that's only because airplanes need to apply a component of the large lifting force of the wings in a horizontal direction. Spaceships, having maneuvering thrusters, have no such limitation, and thus yaw is really is the superior way to alter heading in a horizontal plane.
- M/KB: Obviously cheapest. Surprisingly good. Lots of buttons, and mouse provides the most precise aim of all, which means those who enjoy gimbals (guns able to aim in forward cone). However, a Mouse only has two analogue axes (gradients rather than off/on like a button) and we need 6; every other axis must therefore be bound to keys, which are digital (on/off). This works, but doesn't quite enable the same fine control as analogue (imagine trying to drive your car with an accelerator button that is only off, or flooring it)
- HOTAS: Stick and throttle, most common one used by previous sim owners. Usually three axes available, 5 if you have a thumb stick and 6 if there's a twist axis. Great for most sims where forward is a privileged direction, but the single main throttle axis is less useful here in SC. Also, even if it has a thumb stick, it will always be inherently less accurate than a full stick. However, has more buttons available than equivalently priced dual stick set ups but more axes than an M/KB, and are of course more useful for games other than SC.
- HOSAS/Dual stick: two sticks. Always at least 4 axes, which is perfect if you want to add rudder pedals. The standard recommendation is dual T16000m's. They are cheap but reasonably good quality sensors (about $50 each), and are ambidextrous out of the box, so you can get one, and upgrade your main stick later without wasting money. They also have a twist axis, so you will have 6 axes even without rudder pedals. Tends to suffer from lack of buttons, especially the T16000m which does especially suffer from this, but often used by top racers/dogfighters as it provides the most accurate ship control.
- HOMAS: Mouse and stick. Great for precision control (stick for translation, mouse for rotation), but even fewer buttons than HOTAS. Will DEFINITELY need Voice attack.
- HOMAT: Mouse and throttle: more buttons, but less control than HOMAS
- Xbox/PS4 controller: Don't. Sure, it can be done, but you will be in no way competitive. Console controllers are designed for super-simplified games, because console peasants can only handle two axes and max 16 buttons. Look at the key bindings page. Do you see how many inputs are required? And the complexity will only climb as more systems are brought online. It might be ok for relaxed flying when you're not expecting to DO anything except basic controls, but if you want to be any good at literally anything, don't use a controller.
- Voice Attack: just a voice control program; all it does is attach button inputs to certain voiced phrases. Free version works, paid version allows more customization, including fully voice profiles. There are several voice packs available, most commonly used are HCS voice packs, which have professional voice acting by such known actors as Alix Martin, the voice of Anvil ships, Captain Kirk, and Data. Works great for those who enjoy HOTAS/HOSAS, which will have trouble getting enough buttons for all necessary functions without removing hands from controls.
- TrackIOpenTrack/TrackHat/etcetec: Multiple head tracking softwares exist, most powerful (and expensive) of which is TrackIR. Allow you to turn your head IRL, and your character's head will turn (more than you, since you still have to be looking at the screen) Great for looking around, but may want to hold off until FOIP, or FaceOver IP is in. It's a planned feature where webcam will not only do the headtracking, but also track facial expression and use them on your character; this will have a specialized camera available, so investing in a third-party one now might not be desirable.
- VR headset: Support is planned, and lots of work is going in towards making that implementation smooth and effective, but not being done right now; it's for too small a population base to justify work right now. Trust me, I have a Vive, and I have flown VR flight sims; no one more eagerly awaits VR implementation than I. Those who want to try VR can use VorpX. I haven't tried it myself, but it provides the VR headtracking, while just displaying the same thing on both eyes. Not nearly as good, but all we have for now.
This game is cool, but my [insert ship] sucks. Is this game P2W? Do I have to buy bigger ships to compete?
- When your ship is destroyed, stolen, or damaged beyond repair, you are able to make an insurance claim
- You will then be provided with a STOCK version of the ship as a replacement (ie no, it will not replace the ultra deluxe mega blaster death ray you installed on your Aurora).
- As this game strives for realism, you will have to wait for it to physically come off of the assembly line, and then be flown to you. There was in fact a lore piece written on how there's an entire profession built around flying ships with the least wear and tear possible. This might be mere seconds for an Aurora within core UEE space, but if you want an Idris Frigate sent to you out on the Vanduul border, be prepared to wait awhile.
- Insurance is NOT ticking down today, it only ticks down once game is released, so no need to concern yourself about losing your pledge early. As far as the alpha is concerned, we all have unlimited insurance.
- Insurance will only tick down when PLAYING the game. So if you have not played for a month, your insurance will be in exactly the same time remaining as you left it.
- Insurance IS planned to tick down at a in-game time, which is an unspecified time faster than IRL
- Renewing insurance is planned to be very cheap compared to the actual cost of the ship. CIG knows that this is a game, which is supposed to be fun, so insurance costs will not match what they would be IRL for car insurance. Costs will scale with the ship of course.
- What is LTI? LTI, or Lifetime insurance, is the exact same as everyone else's insurance, but doesn't have to be renewed; it otherwise confers no benefits in terms of expedited fees, or quality of ship received. This only comes with Original Concept ships (ie the first time a ship is sold, when it is nothing but pictures, as a reward for pledging early). CIG has adamantly said that LTI is a tiny buff, because insurance of ship hulls will be so cheap (it'll be the COMPONENT insurance they nail you on). That being said, you're a gamer, and you like maxing out things like that, so I'll teach you how to get LTI on your ships later.
- What happens if your insurance runs out? Can you lose your IRL money? A good question. Well first, there will be multiple warning before you take off in a ship that lacks insurance. And not something you'll just rapid click through either, it'll be a pain in the ass to fly without it. Still, they'll let you do it. With the cost of insurance being so low, and the huge availability of jobs not requiring a ship (ie you could just offer to work aboard someone else's ship), it is very unlikely you will ever not have/be able to make the money. If you still fly without insurance despite that, and your ship is destroyed? Tough luck moron, no replacements. Do you drive without car insurance? Yes? Then report to your local police office, because that shit illegal. So, if you are an absolute moron, who is probably too dumb to breath let alone play a space video game, you can lose the real money you put into the game. But you should probably be more worried about remembering to pass basic reading comprehension tests.
- You WILL be able to lose your insurance if you participate in fraud. Exactly how it will be detected, and how many warnings are given are yet to be nailed down, but CIG has made it clear that those who try to abuse the insurance mechanic to copy ships will lose their insurance, even on ships paid for with real money (though I am sure that fraud cases involving pre-release pledge ships will have an extra layer of scrutiny prior to insurance being cancelled due to IRL money being involved)
Ok, but I still want another ship. How do I do this?
- SC is in development. Systems that would provide some ships with their designed advantage don't exist yet. For example, the best dogfighters are currently the Super hornet and Sabre. The Vanguard warden meanwhile, is a more expensive ship ($250 vs $180), yet performs worse. Why? The Vanguard is designed as a long-range fighter, designed to be as survivable as possible; she gets pilots to the fight, and brings them home afterwards. Its redundant component design means it's unlikely to suffer failures compared to other craft. It's escape pod is second to none in survivability. Unfortunately, escape pods don't work yet, the Item 2.0 system is in its infancy, and we operate around one PLANET, not dozens of star systems, so you can see why the Vanguard does not perform as well as expected RIGHT NOW. Rest assured that it will fair better than the carrier-based hornet series when both are asked to carry out strikes 3 systems over. Other ships carry different trade offs. The Avenger is an objectively worse fighter than a gladius, but has a bed and cargo space. Even the humble Aurora, will have the advantage of being exceedingly cheap and easy to repaireplace, will providing the versatility of cargo and a bed. Larger ships meanwhile, require a larger crew and more support in the form of escort and supply ships.
- All ships will be available for purchase in game; even the most limited of ships (like the Vanduul Scythe) will be obtainable in game, though the difficulty will match the rarity. Remember, we are pledging to help fund the BDSSE, not buying exclusive access. A Carrack earned in game will not be materially different than one bought now. Of course, you can hire yourself out as crew for the larger ships of other players...or just steal them.
- Finally, all ships shall have a role, and all players a role. Picture a Javelin destroyer, the final word in player -flyable firepower. Absolute torpedo bait for bombers and Polaris corvettes. So you need escort fighters to drive off bombers, and escort Gladiator bombers to deal with the Polarises. The Javelin only has one hangar spot, so you'll need some Idris frigates and Crucible repair bays to handle all those small short-range craft. Now you have a battlegroup, and those all need Starfarers to bring fuel and Freelancers to bring supplies, all which will need their own escort fighters, otherwise they'll be ripe targets for Cutlass and Caterpillar pirates, which means you'll need some Stalker and Hawk bounty hunters to dissuade that kind of behaviour. Now you have enough players in one place to justify a hospital ship for respawning. With so many ships in one place, you'll be a ripe target for enemy orgs to drop an Eclipse surprise attack, so you'll need Terrapin picket ships. With all these resources being used to afford this fleet, you'll want to USE it for something, and that'll be holding ground; that means Prospectors, Orions, and ground installations made by Pioneers. Those mining installations will need Hulls to bring the material to market, which will in turn need their own escorts. Each of those ships will need pilots, gunners, marines, etc etc.
- So now, for just one Javelin, you have dozens of ships, with hundreds of crew, with gameplay opportunities for hundreds more. Even with most of those roles filled with NPCs, that's too many roles for anything but the biggest orgs, so then you have small orgs with a Javelin that need to contract out their hauling, and the escorting, but also contract themselves out to mining orgs for protection. Every ship will have a role, every player a job to do.
- Before doing so, has it been one whole month? I recommend not spending more than $60 for one whole month. That gives time to get over the “this game looks amazing”, and for you to see all the flaws, as well as get impatient with the process. Backing an alpha game is not for everyone after all. If after that month you still feel like pledging more, here is what you do.
- First, anything purchased, whether ship or game package, will be known as “Pledges”, which can contain one or more “Items”. There are many types of Items, the major ones I will outline here.
- Star Citizen Digital Access: this item is MANDATORY to own the game. Do you have every ship ever released, but not this? Tough tuckas, you can't play. As a rule of thumb, a Game Package Type Pledge that includes this will be $15 over the value of the ship it comes with, though this is not universally true, and does not apply to older packages. This price will only go up as SC is developed (it used to be +$15 for both SC and S42).
- Squadron 42 Digital Access. Same as above, but for the single player Squadron 42. There are two ways to obtain this. First, you can get a Game Package like this (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/Packages/Mustang-Alpha-Star-Citizen-Squadron-42-Combo) which includes it as a base. Second, you can get obtain a regular SC only game package, AND IF YOU DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE ANY GAME PACKAGE OF ANY KIND, you will be offered a $15 Squadron 42 add-on AT CHECK OUT. There is NO WAY to obtain this later without melting your game pack; this is not a big deal, but you do lose giftability (more on this later). If you do not get it now, it will very soon go up to $20; like SC, as S42 gets closer to completion, the price will get closer to final release price of a AAA game.
- Ship: Easiest to understand. Having a Pledge that contains a specific ship as an Item, will confer use of that ship, now and in the final game. If it's not released yet, you get a loaner (see loaners below)
- Insurance: See insurance explanation above.
- Decorative items: posters, models, different ships skins, all fall under this category.
- Hangars (not hangers): space you will have available in final game to store your ships. This system is currently undergoing major reworks, so don't worry about it.
- UEC: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/extras?product_id=41&sort=store&search=&itemType=skus&storefront=pledge&type=extras& Some Pledges come with UEC, the in-game currency (for currencies, see another question below). It can also be purchased separately. DO NOT FEAR IF YOUR PACKAGE UEC DOES NOT SHOW UP ON THE WEBSITE. This is a system being significantly altered.
- Cross Chassis Upgrade: a unique item, only contained within the “Upgrade” Pledge. See below.
- There are 4 main types of "Pledges” to be bought, and all can be found in the “My Hangar” portion of your account on the website. You can pick up on the others later.
- Game packages (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/game-packages). This comes with SC (+/- S42 access), a small amount of UEC (ie the in-game currency), a hangar, a game manual, a ship and insurance for that ship. This can be confusing sometimes. You MUST have a Pledge that contains “Star Citizen Digital Access” to play the game. The available Game Packages are in general the cost of the ship + $15.
- Standalone ship (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/extras?product_id=72): come with the ship, insurance, and a hangar. If is original concept, it comes with Lifetime Insurance, and certain decorative flair. Notably, this does NOT include Star Citizen Digital Access.
- ship packs: multiple ships in one "Pledge", typically with extra flair or some lower price. All have the same insurance. All upgrade separately, but must be melted (ie exchanged for store credit) together. Otherwise the ships are indistinguishable from regular ships.
- Upgrade. Obtain here: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/ship-upgrades Is an actual "item". that converts ONLY THE SHIP within a given "Pledge". It alters no other Item in the Pledge it is applied to; insurance stays the same, hangar flair stays the same, Star Citizen access stays the same. Is purchased for the difference in price between the two ships (ie freelancer and connie taurus is $40). Again, is a "Pledge" that contains one item, the upgrade. You go into My Hangar on the website, and manually apply it to convert the ship. It cannot be undone. Ships obtained in such a way are called "CCU'ed ships". Ie the Taurus is the above example would be a "CCU'ed Taurus".
- You can only obtain CCU's to ships of higher value. That's why they call it UPgrading.
- You can obtain a CCU to a ship only when the ship is available. CCU's can be held onto for use AFTER a given sale has ended
- Any “Pledge” can be exchanged for store credit; this process is known as “Melting”.
- You will get as much store credit as you put in when you melt your Pledge.
- If a ship subsequently goes up in price, you do not get that extra money as store credit.
- You cannot melt specific items within a Pledge, only the Pledge itself.
- When melting a Pledge, the BASE Version of that Pledge (ie without any CCU's that have been applied) goes into the “Buyback” subsection of the My Hangar page. In this section, one can buyback previously melted Pledges. With cash, they can be bought back at any time. One may use credits to do so, in whole or in part, but doing so requires the use of a “Buyback token”, which every player gets one token once per quarter. They do not stack (ie you can only ever have 1 or 0), and cannot be sold, traded, or bought.
- For most people, that's enough info. They'll get the ship they want, sit on it. However, the CCU system makes several things possible, if one understands several fundamental tenants.
- It only converts the SHIP, not the rest of the contents of the "Pledge".
- Most importantly, the INSURANCE within the Pledge is unchanged (ie if you upgrade an LTI Hawk to a Cutlass, the Cutlass keeps LTI, but if you upgrade a non-LTI Cyclone to a Nova, it would NOT have LTI). Put another way, insurance is not tied to a specific type of ship, but to the Pledge that is originally purchased. There is no way to alter the insurance within a specific Pledge (well there is, but it is a VERY rare upgrade, that was sold only a few times years ago, and is going to be so hard to find that you can literally buy a new ship for the price of this upgrade on the grey market, if you can find it at all)
- If you melt a Pledge, any CCUs applied to it disappears. You get the credit back in the melting of course, but the actual CCU itself is gone.
- When melting, only the base Pledge (ie the ORIGINAL ship within the item you upgraded) is added to the buyback pile. So, in the above example, if you upgrade your Freelancer (worth $110) to a Taurus with a $40 upgrade, and then melt it, you will get the 150 credits back, and in your buyback pile you will have the ORIGINAL FREELANCER. This means if you have any limited CCUs? Gone.
- There is no way to downgrade (well not quite true, but it's an advanced technique that only works in absurdly specific circumstances)
- “Sidegrades” or changing to a ship of the same value, is also difficult. It used to be that $0 CCU's (upgrades between ships of the same value) were easy to obtain, but CIG has started to restrict them in fairly inconsistent and haphazard fashion; the official reason is that they want to know what ships people are using and the $0 CCU made it too easy to swap, but in reality, the reason is people were using it to take easy advantage of price increases without at least paying for a CCU. Long story short, don't rely on $0 CCUs or sidegrades.
- Each ship within a Ship Pack can be upgraded individually (ie in a Multi ship type Pledge, which contained an X1 and Nox, you could convert the Nox into a Cutlass and the X1 into a hornet). However, you cannot MELT each individually (ie if you didn't want the hornet anymore, you'd have to melt the WHOLE pack. You'd get the credit to buy it back, but as in point 4 and 3, you lose the CCUs applied, which can be costly if you had a price-increased CCU or a limited CCU applied.
- All Pledge melt (exchange for store credit) the EXACT value you put in, regardless of the current value of a ship
- Applying these principle, we can obtain LTI on almost any ship, provided we have a ship of lower value that has LTI (particularly cheap, and thus versatile, ships are known as “LTI tokens” in the community). There is no way to transfer insurance, only to CONVERT the ship contained within the same "Pledge" as the insurance.
- Note that NOT ALL SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE THE TIME. Certain ships are permanently available, and can be purchased or upgraded to at any time. Others are limited, and can only be obtained, or upgrades to that ship purchased, at specific times. This time is usually “concept sale” and “anniversary sale”, as well as other sales held throughout the year in for certain thematically appropriate ships.
- The anniversary sale is the big sale in November, to commemorate the initial Kickstarter, when nearly all ships are available.
- Some ships are by design, limited in number, and can NOT be upgraded to. Some, such as the Scythe and Idris-M, are so rare that they were only ever sold once, and now only obtainable via prohibitively expensive multi-ship Pledges, while others are limited but sold every year without LTI, such as the 890 jump and Phoenix.