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  • Writer's pictureSpace Tomato

You Don’t Need That Ship

Star Citizen is a game in development funded by the fans. This funding model, while successful, has come under scrutiny quite a bit, for good reason. With the biggest funding event of the year just weeks behind us and the game passing another milestone in funding, I think there is no better time than now to talk about ship sales, their dangers, and why you don’t need to buy that ship. Not gonna lie, this is going to be quite the topic. But as always, I’d like to thank you for coming to my tomato blog.

The idea behind ship sales is pretty apparent, but for those who don’t follow this game much let me explain.

Star Citizen is funded by backer donations. These are referred to as donations by CIG and are not purchases. Because of this, ships are framed as an additional perk of backing the game. Every one of these ships is or will be available in-game once they are built. It is not required to buy these ships to enjoy the game, in fact, I tell people every chance I get not to buy these ships. I am not one to usually tell people what to do with their money. But as a voice that reaches many newcomers who believe they need to spend money to enjoy this game, I just want people to know it is not required. You can rent and purchase games in-game, and they will stay with you unless there is a database wipe, which doesn’t happen often. This is because as the game is developed there may be balance passes that are needed, cause the game isn’t complete.

These ships you can buy are not always available, though. That’d be far too easy. Many ships in-game are not normally available to be purchased by money. But there are specific times during the year when these ships are made available such as the recent IAE, and sometimes there are even discounts on different packages.

Now, these sales are not the cause of the issue we are about to dive into, but oh wow do they not exacerbate the issue.

If you look at the comments following the release of the newest ships to the game, the RAFT and the Odyssey, you’ll see many discussions surrounding the “why?” Of these ships. Why choose this ship over the Freelancer, or the Constellation, or the Hull B? Why choose the Carrack for exploration, if this ship can refine fuel? You’ll also find comments asking for a convincing reason to buy these ships. And as many of you know, this doesn’t start with the ship reveal. These ships can have their names leaked to the public with very difficult-to-decipher design, functionality, and size. Disregarding whether this is a marketing stunt or legitimate leaks, these vague representations of a ship are enough to earn a definite purchase from some.

Again, this is not necessarily a problem, as long as those spending their money know what they are getting into, you do you. But these questions point to a pretty key part of Star Citizen that I simply won’t shut up about, Choice.

There are already some pretty distinct use-cases for the existing ships. But with at least more than half a decade to go before this game quote “goes live”, I’m sure we can expect many many ships to come before and after that point. These ships are unique, they’re focused, and they’re meant to force you to make you make a decision. And the fact of the matter for the average person when it comes to most ships, is that you just don’t need that ship.

To put this into perspective, let’s take a look at one of the new ships. The RAFT is a cargo hauler with a unique industrial design, a decent size for a small freighter, and a beautifully designed interior. But the real reason to buy this ship as a cargo hauler over others is for the quick loading and unloading functionality which will drastically reduce your downtime and loading time which will cost you money in the future. With the exterior cargo storage and a crane that can add and remove standardized boxes, you’ll be able to get in and out of an area much more quickly than a regular loaded ship like a Freelancer. This is key, and while the ship launched without that functionality, in the grand scheme of this game, that puts it in a unique position.

Currently, the only other ships to haul exterior cargo are the Nomad, the Railen, and the Hull Series, all with their own unique offerings. And with cargo loading and unloading processes taking extended amounts of time in the future, these ships will excel in certain scenarios.

So the exterior cargo sets this ship apart from the Freelancer and constellation, the size, support, and facilities put it a step above the Nomad, the tractor beam, VTOL, and size give it an edge up on the Hull A, and the Railen is in a different class all its own. These small features can make all the difference for the cargo hauler who wants to make quick pick-ups and drop-offs from frontier locations or space stations that might charge hefty prices for labor. It’s a specific application, but one that many people will dedicate their time to. And with the number of ships being created for this game, it may be the case that this ship simply won’t fit the gameplay you have in mind. A lot of work is going into this game to make sure players can specialize in functions nobody else can do. Ship interiors, ship components, resource management, navigation, ship engineer, security, and more. All of these roles will be available to players, and if you desired, you would never have to fly a ship.

And there are many more ships that will come to the game, as well as more ways to play. For the most part, the application of this feature as well as specifics regarding these ships is still fairly theoretical, so giving money to earn one of these ships for the specific features they have is not a good idea. But if you do find yourself asking why you should be interested in one ship over another, it may be worth considering you simply don’t need it.

This blog may be perceived to be attacking citizens in some way, but I am really just trying to put the message out there for people wondering what ship they should buy. Consider whether you really need it, or will really need it in your specific future. There are certainly good reasons to get these ships now, but I think it’s worth considering the motivation.

Speaking of ships, ironically I am running a massive ship giveaway on this website, which could have you winning some pretty nice space ships as well as the full game. I’ve also talked about this ship as well as the rest of IAE in my recent podcast episode, so, you can check that out as well if you feel like it.

I hope you learned something while reading this blog, and I’ll catch you in the next.

-Space Tomato

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