Star Citizen | Your Guide to Starter Ships
There are over 100 currently flyable ships in Star Citizen, and most of them are relatively small. But there is a subset of ships that many would consider starters. Some use size, some use crew, and some use price. Regardless of what you use, I believe everybody, not just newcomers, should have a starter ship they can depend on. So, in this guide to the starter ships of Star Citizen, I’m going to make a case for holding onto them, and help you decide which is right for you.
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Why Do I Need A Starter?
Starter ships in Star Citizen aren’t just starter ships, they are small ships. Now, there’s a grey area regarding what is considered a starter ship, but since this may be used as a buying guide, let’s say anything $65 or less. While that may be too much to consider for what may seem like an unimportant ship, these ships won’t be losing their use -which is a product of design.
Star Citizen is a skill-based game, and while the numbers and stats of these ships may not be favorable, the smallest cargo hold can carry an artifact, the smallest guns can clear the skies, and no matter where a bed is, it will allow you to log on and off anywhere in space. The skill and creativity of the player flying these ships actually make quite a big difference in this game. While a group of 3 fighters and a dropship full of 6 fighters can assault and take over an underground compound, a single player in a starter ship can fly in with a hovercraft and sneak their way in.
That is both an idealistic view of these ships and is realistic. There are several key design decisions in the game, some temporary for the alpha and some permanent, that make these ships an absolute blast to have over larger ships.
For one, that size difference indicates to others that you may not be carrying enough to steal. With a physicalized cargo model being implemented over time, the amount of cargo, vehicles, fuel, or other valuable commodities a ship can carry will be pretty closely related to its size, as you might expect.
In addition, your ship will be less detectable. At this early stage of scanning and exploration, it is already possible to determine specific ship emissions and hide from radar by entering stealth mode. As new features in E-War and data hacking come online this will grow more important.
There is also the insurance timer. While it is not the permanent plan, ships can currently be claimed on your in-game insurance to be respawned at any landing pad on a station or spaceport. This does not cost anything, don’t worry, it’s just the terminology. Starter ships, though, are almost immediately spawned when blown up, while larger ships can be longer than an hour. So jumping into the game with a giant ship could mean you’ll spend a lot of time waiting as you learn to fly. Large ships are going to have a lot of drawbacks, especially if you don’t have friends to help. Another benefit comes from the use of Jump Points.
In Star Citizen, star systems are connected via their large gravity wells, which are tethered together by super stable wormholes of varying sizes. These sizes determine which ships can traverse from one system to another. Some paths that may normally be a single jump could turn into 7 additional jumps if you only have a large ship. That may not seem like a big deal until you realize each of these systems could require 10 minutes of travel, and hitching a ride would require you to leave your ship behind. Ship size will make a big difference in some of the more logistical sides of gameplay.
Finally, the biggest reason to consider these ships permanently, is that they really aren’t bad gameplay-wise. As I said before, your use of these ships is skill-based, but there’s more to it than that.
These ships contain technologies that help them compete with larger ships.
The 100i Series not only has a bed that allows you to spend weeks out in space, but it also has a built-in refinery system that can leave your mind at ease regarding everything except for where you’ll go to the bathroom.
The Pisces contains 2 jumpseats as well as room for cargo that will make for a means of great personnel transport in line with some larger ships.
The Reliant Mako is currently the only ship planned to be able to take advantage of the in-game filming system.
The 315p comes with a ship-based tractor beam, a tool generally found on larger ships like the Nomad, Cutlass, or SRV.
Or you can take a shot in the 125a, a tiny ship with a bed that has enough firepower to take a shot at a Gladius, and then take a nap after you’re done.
There’s a lot of use to be had with these ships, and a lot of reasons to hang onto them.
What Are Your Options?
All this talk, and all these names. But what are these ships?
Well, the 4 ships in our range that come with actual copies of the game attached are the Mustang Alpha and the Aurora MR at $45, the Pisces at $60, and the 100i at $65. These prices can change, these packages can move, and some may even appear.
However, I will always tell every new player that unless you want to support the development of the game, only spend $45. But that’s a different conversation, which I cover in 2 YouTube videos. You can watch both at the links below.
You can also check out my full New Player's Guide video here.
Disregarding price, each of these starter ships has a reason to be. I won’t get into the stats, because those can change.
The philosophy of the ship generally remains intact. The Mustang Alpha, while not being the most compact, is the only one without an interior. It uses an external cargo compartment for transport, but that’s currently broken.
So... it’s basically the bare minimum.
The Aurora MR, though, comes with a bed, space for boxes on the inside, and a more compact form. For the price, the Aurora MR gets a lot done, though not while looking too great.
The Pisces is an incredible package with space for cargo and personnel. This is the smallest ship in the game that can safely transport 3 people, and that is going to be a very big deal moving forward. Whether transporting drugs down to New Babbage for the good business folk of Microtech or taking some eager tourists through the jump point into the lovely Pyro, a ship of this size with this amount of transport potential is a good ship to keep an eye on.
Then, there’s the 100i, a sleek stylish luxury starter. It carries a bed, providing more range over the Pisces, while also building in a bespoke refinery system that will allow you to regenerate and repurpose space gas you find as you explore. With some cargo space, this ship also makes for a great courier and exploration ship.
Standalone starters are also very much worth looking into.
Often considered the best starter ship in the game, the Avenger Titan has enough cargo space to easily fit a vehicle or a good amount of cargo. It also has a bed and a good amount of weaponry, providing some range and protection.
This ship comes in at the general game price of $60, but will cost $10 extra to get the game included, many consider that worth it.
There is the 300i which as you might guess is the larger partner of the 100i. This ship has a slightly nicer interior and better specs but isn’t necessarily the best choice in this range.
Finally, there is the Reliant Kore. This unorthodox ship offers space for some cargo, though no significant amount, room for 2 crew, and a pretty cool look.
These last few ships that do not include the game are not smart to buy with cash, though. These ships are better off earned in-game (which is easy enough) unless you would like to contribute to the development.
These starter ships aren’t bad ships, as we’ve seen. They are pretty useful in their own ways, and they definitely have a place in the game for many players. But CIG still needs to do some work to make these ships easier to use. It would be great to see each starter ship receive another pass to make sure beginners are getting the best experience, but it may be a while before that happens. As of right now, from a new player’s perspective, the Aurora MR is likely the smartest move. I believe all players have a good reason to keep one of these ships in their back pocket because, in the end, it’s about how you use it...