Star Citizen Alpha 3.14 the Q2 Patch is the next major patch for Star Citizen’s Persistent Universe pegged for release around the end of June 2021…
It had a few features pushed back to Alpha 3.15 relatively recently making the patch feel a bit lighter notably moving Medical Gameplay, Personal Inventory, FPS Scanning and Hacking to 3.15, largely due to these requiring more work and expanding somewhat as tasks.
However 3.14 still has a solid amount of content there and is not completely gutted and I wanted to do a bit of summary of what we are expecting to get and what we are not.
There is a massive addition with updates to Crusader, turning it into a visitable location and the first Gas Giant in game. There is supposed to be other gameplay and locations to visit around the Planet other than just it’s Major Landing Zone… however we don’t know to what extent yet.
Orison is the Major location there and it’s a floating cloud city a series of platforms make up Orison and it looks like we are getting at least parts of a commercial/hab platform, spaceport and industrial platform in it’s first release with hospitals and more being released later in the year. There is a focus on making this location look amazing with Cherry Blossoms and beautiful gardens. I believe the Crusader Security Outreach office and Gibbs/Batista the Mission Givers are coming a bit later as well rather than when it’s initially released.
There is Planetary Volumetric Clouds V1 which is the Initial version of a new bespoke system to convincingly render multi layered, volumetric clouds of varying scale within planetary atmospheres. This will not only help make Crusader & Orison look great but can be used for clouds on other planets too and weather systems in the future.
You want ships? The Long awaited Constellation Taurus is here. This is the stripped down, cargo focused verison of the ship and with that we could also potentially see a little update to all of the Constellations as they have talked about removing some of the cockpit struts and an update to the Cockpit experience but we could even see a little internal update… maybe?
Another one of the more major features is Capacitor Gameplay which has been Renamed Power Management v2 which includes the Integration of the capacitor system and rebalance of all connected systems. Players will have the ability to manage the amount of extra energy that goes into the thrusters, weapons and shields, making critical decisions on the distribution of energy in order to defend, attack or pursue/evade. This has massive changes to Energy Weapons it sounds as well with them needing to periodically charge their capacitors to fire. All of this is going to be a massive change to combat and it’s the feature I am most concerned about as it could make or break fun dogfighting.
To help account for this and the general improvements to the Cockpit experience they are Updating all ship HUDs to use the new Canvas Slice system, providing an improved layout that maximizes screen real estate and provides more info and depth to pilots.
Radar, Scanning & Ping – Radar is used to passively locate and track contacts, and display their whereabouts to the player. Scanning is used to obtain information about a specific entity. Ping actively finds additional contacts, or highlights volumes of space to investigate weak signatures, both of which are displayed via the radar and its AR HUD elements. They are updating these systems to look better visually and give deeper information about what you are scanning/detecting. This will allow for much deeper stealth gameplay along with making scanning and detection significantly more important.
Missile Operator Mode – Missiles will now be controlled under a dedicated missile operator mode, which gives players the option to select and fire specific missiles while operating in ships that allow for different types of missiles and torpedoes. We will see more and more operator modes for ships systems as they expand out the functions of each of the gameplay loops and how they split them for the multi-crew experience.
Missiles are getting more updates beyond that too with a Guidance & Control Rework Converting them to use the IFCS 2 guidance and control systems. This will improve missile performance and tracking ability, enabling greater control over general missile behaviors.
There are some more Updates to the Law System and finally Surrendering appears to be turning up allowing players to be arrested without losing their life, they will be able to surrender by coming to a halt and powering down their ships when ordered to by security. Security will halt their attack and arrest criminal players (and impound the ship if owned by a criminal).
There are various other potential things we could get with Alpha 3.14 or during it’s cycle.
Additional Missions – Orison and Crusader are a big place and it makes sense that we will get more missions associated with the area and some updates to the space around it to accommodate.
It’s possible as well that we will see the replacement of Port Olisar soon, getting it in the same state as one of the major stations above planets like Baijani Point or Port Tressler.
We saw some economy and cargo updates during Fleet Week and I am expecting some additional cargo opportunities with the Orison Landing zone and a bit more of a economy rebalance as well as more improvements to changing prices of commodities and trade alerts.
More Ships… CI typically like to have something new straight to flyable or driveable even if it’s just a variant of something in these patches… things we have heard about like the 400i, Xi’An Cargo Ship, a potential Argo RAFT ship are all somewhat possibilities I suppose.
Hercules C2 & M2, Nova Tank, ROC-DS & Cyclone MT are all potentials for being put into the in game shops with 3.14 as well.
Sometimes new features turn up just at the end as well, typically more minor tho.
CI have talked about 2 events coming up in the near Nine Tails Lockdown and something called Infiltrator. I don’t know much at all about the Infiltrator event BUT the Nine Tails lockdown will have lots of combat missions and working together with players to deal with pirates and it should be an advancement beyond the XenoThreat Event.
Both of these could well be part of the 3.14 branch of the game but maybe not at the indital 3.14.0 initial release.
I don’t think we will see a persistence wipe for the patch, tho they always say they will do one if it’s necessary. We can expect testing of the patch to start around mid June in Evocati and then moving into more PTU phases and public testing towards the end of June if all goes well… although the rough release date is end of June for the Patch, typically CI take a week or 2 longer to get the patch out to live, so bare that in mind, it does depend how testing goes in the PTU phases. And there is always the chance features will get pushed back at the last min.