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The Uncertainty of Salvage Gameplay Delays

Salvage Mechanics in Star Citizen is one of the most anticipated and delayed gameplay loops in the project’s history. Originally expected to have an early release a few years ago now and be iterated on like mining gameplay has been.

We do have expanding Looting in Alpha 3.15 and blowing up ships leaves a box of their local inventory that they had BUT this isn’t really salvage.

There are however a few things going on now… Alpha 3.16 is currently pegged to have the T0 Hand Salvage Mechanics but also CI recently made a statement talking about a change in release strategy for features and we haven’t seen the effects of this yet.

A Change in Strategy – CI now plan to have features released with more flesh on their bones and not in isolation. They don’t want a feature that isn’t of any function at it’s time of release and want mission and gameplay systems to support it. This will have features integrated into SQ42 and integrated on before then going to the PU a bit later. Obviously there are some features that are PU focused that will just get more attention before going live. This shouldn’t increase the overall time to complete the game… in fact it might reduce it BUT the 1st iteration of any new mechanic might take some extra time before it turns up in the PU, tho it will be a lot further down the road in development than a T0 implementation in most cases. The question is tho… will this affect Salvage and the rest of the planed content for 2021? At the moment the Roadmap is still showing Salvage T0 for 3.16 by the end of the year… so what is expected for the initial release?

Alpha 3.16 is supposed to contain Hand Salvage (and potentially repair).

This uses either a multi-tool attachment or dedicated salvage tool that the player equips to strip the hull of ships or salvage points, this is then stored as a resource that can be used to repair or sold. We do know that 3.16 also plans to have the Dynamic Economy Stimulate and affect the price of repairs and HPMC the material for repair which is assumedly what you collect when you salvage with the hand tools.

CI did recently say that Ship based Salvage beyond that was Planned for 2022 along with the Vulture… the Vulture is currently on Star Citizen’s Progress Tracker Roadmap for completion by the end of Q1 2022… but that isn’t an indication of exactly when it will be in our hands.

Types of Salvage – Both the Hand Tool Salvage and Vulture are known as Hull Stripping salvage but there are actually a lot more types and mechanics planned.

The Removal of Physical Components is probably the simplest type of salvaging. Take a shield generator from a wreck… I suppose it doesn’t have to be a wreck even.

You might have to forcibly disconnect it or cut it out using a cutting tool and then move it with a tractor tool.

This requires CI to have Physical Components completed tho, they are working on that and even making sure all ships have the areas and cupboards to house all those components… it’s an incredibly important core, get in game asap type thing… so I hope we will see it next year.

Maw Salvage is the taking of larger pieces of ship and scrap and compressing it down into cubes or material value. The Reclaimer will be able to do this, tractoring pieces of salvage into it’s mouth (maw) and then processing them. Some people are expecting the Reclaimer to get some salvage function potentially with the Vulture next year… tho I do find this less likely as it’s a bit more in depth… that said we don’t have confirmation of exactly what the salvage plans are for next year… it’s only my assumption that it’s going to be Hull-Stipping that will be the focus… tho that is mainly because it’s the evolution of hand salvage.

Some other things that CI have talked about Salvage Charges… these would be placed by hand and used to blow up sections of ships so that they can be more easily processed into cubes or more easily hull stripped… or just moved via tractor beam more easily.

Larger Tractor Beams are coming too… a dedicated tool that’s larger than the multitool attachment AND different size of ship based tractors that will be much much more powerful.

 Also as I previously mentioned Cutting Tools it’s possible these will be scaled up for salvage operation.

There is another type of salvage too: Syphoning, this is the extraction of gas and liquids from ships BUT is pretty much the same as Refueling mechanics that CI have planned or at least very similar. Tho more focused at taking fuel, gas, liquid, atmosphere out of ships… and it’s likely that the Starfarer will be able to do this as well.

Potentially an off shoot of this would be data recovery and extraction too.

Even with CI’s new Release Strategy I think we can expect Iteration like mining with this mechanic. As I have laid out, it’s actually a few different mechanics all making up the gameplay loop and the economy is already expanding out to support this now.

We can see this partly with Expanded Selling being in 3.16 and the Dynamic Universe Sim taking control of various encounters and prices.

It’s also possible that some of these mechanics might of been changed or simplified somewhat… I actually expect that generally Salvage will be very similar to mining where possible… and not overly complex.

There might be some cases of… we should probably disconnect the powerplant before salvaging or blowing this part of the ship up… careful around ammo/missile bays… they might blend some hacking or stealth gameplay in to some areas.

And you can expect to see salvage and reclamation focused missions.

How will you find Salvage? Scan? Know what to look for? Well again probably the same why you find mineables

In the future there should be Salvage focused scanners BUT also players are going to know what wrecks and derelicts are worth checking out based on experience to.

Generally scanning will give you some indication if something is over in an area… once you get closer you’ll be able to scan it further for more info. BUT you will have a lot of options on larger wrecks, do I EVA out and try and grab some components? Do I just nom the ship up?

Is this too big a task for my vulture?

We don’t really have timelines on Salvage and it’s evolution. Maybe some at the end of this year, probably lots next year but nothing concrete. The mechanics still remain some of the most wanted and erratically delayed and we only know if that trend continues when 3.16 is a bit more set in stone.

We could also see more salvage ships or vehicles in the future or modules for things like the caterpillar making it have a salvage capability for example. Could there be drones for finding or extracting salvage… maybe?