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The Ship Pricing Problem

Welcome to some more Star Citizen today I wanted to talk about The Ship Pricing Problem & the pricing of ships in the game, short and long term.

Teach’s Shop – in Levski on Delamar, was added to 3.3s PTU allowing for the purchase of ships with aUEC. A feature wanted since the game had a PU.

Shops like this will have a selection of ships (but not all ships) based on the shop’s inventory.

In Teach’s (in the current 3.3.0v PTU) there are:

  • Dragonflies for 70k aUEC
  • A Tumbril Cyclones
  • Auroras from 220k – 500k
  • Buccaneer – 1.1 mill
  • Hornet – 1.49 mill
  • Cutlass – 1.55 mill
  • Prospector – 1.6 mill

You interact with the ship to purchase it.

There will be terminals in the future to allow you to buy ships from the kiosk UI.

Insurance wise – Ships that you buy in game will stay with you until a reset & you’ll be able to insurance claim them like you would any other ship you owned.

They are in the process of balancing the prices and mission rewards for 3.3 currently.

 

Short Term Pricing

The pricing of the ships has caused some some backers to claim the prices are unobtainable or unrealistic for the state of the PU in the Short Term. The game after all is reset often, at least once every 3 months when it comes to a LIVE build.

The argument boiling down to, if they are adding this feature then the ships should be obtainable, and in a timely manner, so they can be played with by players before any resets.

Those prices are obtainable for some and not for others and with a few tweaks I think they could work a lot better.

 

It’s For Testing

It is worth mentioning that at this stage Testing & Balance is a major factor when it come to ship prices in game in the short term. They want players to earn ships, then reset and have them earn them again to get metrics for missions rewards, progression, what prices these things should be at.

 

Making Money, aUEC in 3.3 is done via a few different ways:

Missions, Cargo Hauling, Responding to Service Beacons (Escorts/Pickups), Mining, Scramble Races & to a small extent scavenging for cargo boxes while doing these other .

Your ability to do these gameplay loops will vary based on the ships you have.

If you only have a starter ship like an Aurora or Mustang then really you can do minimal cargo runs, maybe pick up a person in an Aurora, Escorts or certain Missions.

Missions come in a variety of options. From Combat, to Investigation, to clearing out AI at SPK, to fetch a box (there are issues with fetch quests currently with the Aurora and Mustang, eventually you’ll be able to place mission boxes by hand into the ships, maybe with 3.3 LIVE with the mustang)

Mission Rewards have been criticised for being too low.

But the more missions you do, the more rep you build up and you will get access to some more lucrative paying missions you can get.

Still grinding up to 1.6 million would be a significant time investment.

When making money via Cargo Hauling can be incredibly lucrative as you are able to leverage the amount of aUEC you have to just make more, as long as you are working out the trade routes.

So how do you get from your starter ship to a ship that can make you more money from?

Well for me in Teach’s shop there is a missing link, something like an Avenger Titan, that has the ability to transport cargo but is also suitable for the myriad of other mission in the game.

Something like that then allows you to much better leverage aUEC into making much more with Cargo Runs & get into some of the other missions like fetch quests & combat more easily.

We are getting the ability to Rent ships in the PU, it’s not confirmed whether that will be in Teach’s in 3.3 or at all. It may be only certain shops have rentals. We also don’t know the relative price of this yet, length of rental, how this operates when the ship is lost/destroyed.

3.3.5 has an additional ship shop “Big Deal” in Lorville, on Hurston, with a different selection of ships

This is also confirmed to have the ability to rent. The different selection of ships suggests to me, teach’s will have rental too. Again if that’s in 3.3 then that will be extremely useful as players can rent the Cutlass to do cargo runs, Prospector to mine OR just get access to these ships without such a long time to grind investment.

 

Longer Term Pricing – Will be largely dynamic, prices of ships will be based on the materials, components, time, labour and technology needed to build them as well as the area they are in, supply and demand. Missions will be generated for NPCs and Players to bring materials to areas that need them for their economies, these materials are made into the ships and components for them. A shortage of materials will see prices rise for ships and items that need them.

Longer term there will also be a lot more missions, that will be scalable, opportunities to earn UEC by being part of a crew and working towards larger payouts.

 

Some of my opinions on things:

I’m not sure if the prices of Ships should JUST be priced with the $$$ cost of the ship in mind.

It’s going to go the way of dynamic pricing eventually anyway, trying to balance prices and gameplay around the $$$ doesn’t seem smart when we have an extremely limited portion of the gameplay loops, jobs, roles, ships and things to do with money. I’m not saying completely ignore it, I am just saying there is more to that in the equation for the short term. The game needs to be PLAY to win rather than PAY to win.

The reason to buy ships is to support the Star Citizen Project and get a bonus from that, ships change in price in $$$ and typically become more expensive as they go from concept to flyable BUT balancing gameplay & in game costs just around $$ for that is a bad idea imo.

 

UEC Rework

A bit juxtaposed to this  I’d say that they need to rework the UEC bought… on accounts, the $1 = 1000 UEC at the moment, that needs to be reworked at some point, AT LEAST just before any final reset IMO – However the short term benefit of UEC on you account does allow you to start with more aUEC every reset, you get any other starting amount PLUS the UEC on your account.

A potential solution or at least something to help mitigate inaccessibility to ships would to be to have every start with some more aUEC at least in the short term for 3.3 LIVE.

 

When will purchases and aUEC stick?

Once they have Full Persistence (which is one of the pillars to release) there is no need for the to reset until they move onto using UEC, infact Full Persistence might see them use UEC (rather than aUEC) from the off, though they are likely to wait until they also have at least Server Meshing completed too.

They will let us know what the plans for resets are as they move forward & when any “final” resets will happen too. Full Persistence may well be implemented towards the end of 2019.

 

Other Things

Selling Ships – There isn’t much information on the selling of ships yet, we should be able to sell to both Players and Some Shops

Referrals – Backers getting referrals can also get access to more ships via referrals.

Subscribers – Get a ship of the month to use in the PU too.

There are freefly events too that allow backers to have some extra ships in the PU for a limited time.

 

Conclusion/Solutions

The issues here are mostly only problems in the short term BUT there are a few solutions:

So as long as there are some more steps between an Aurora and a Cutlass/Prospector, with something like an Avenger Titan being affordable without too much grind.

OR Rentals come online allowing players to access the ships.

OR They rebalance Mission Rewards / Ship Prices to make them obtainable.

OR They give players a larger chunk of aUEC to start them off in the PU at the moment.

 

Please tell me your thoughts in the comments below, as obviously some of these are my solutions to ship prices and might not be the best. I’ll link the thread on Balance for Teach’s shop and ship prices too so you can get involved in that conversation if you wish.