Star Citizen Alpha 3.18 is the Q2 2022 patch roughly planned for a live build at the end of June. It contains some incredibly important gameplay centric features that could make Star Citizen significantly more meaty especially when combined with those 3.17 features like persistent hangars, ship to ship refueling, being able to sell all your random lootables and gear, taxi missions etc… So what’s planned for 3.18 currently and what does it mean for the game?
Salvage & early Repair Mechanics are expected in 3.18 and are one of the most delayed and anticipated features and gameplay loops for Star Citizen.
We know this will have a Salvage Hand Tool associated with it. You’ll be able to get a mod for your multi-tool and potentially a dedicated tool allowing you to strip the hull and materials off ships and store those materials in a can and then sell it or use that materials to repair the hull of a ship.
One of the things that CI said when they delayed Salvage last time was so they could have ship based salvage along with hand salvage.
So we do have the Drake Vulture light salvage vessel planned for here too and the plans is that this will have it’s hull stripping mechanics too, just on a larger scale to that of the hand salvage… it’s possible it will have some form of repair too maybe…
You can expect the mechanics here to be similar to mining, basically a hull stripping beam and a similar development cycle where the first iteration of salvage will grow to allow a lot more in the feature with more types, more components, sub components, missions and an economy being built up around it.
I am not expecting the Reclaimer to have it’s salvage mechanics here and they should come later… this is because it’s MAW SALVAGE which takes chunks of ship and compresses them down into cubes… it’s a different type compared to hull stripping.
Please CIG don’t delay salvage again, it will make me sad.
There is also a major Cargo System Refactor this should of been helped or prepared somewhat in the previous 3.17 patch with persistent hangars, cargo loading / unloading. This refactor focuses on allowing both found and bought cargo to be picked up, moved around, and placed into the cargo grid of a ship. It can be pirated, or liberated and allows for a lot more interactivity. You will start to see a lot of gameplay made possible because of this. You can probably also expect there to be more types of cargo container and ships to get a bit of a cargo pass at the same time in my opinion.
You can expect tweaks to cargo times and costs associated with loading / unloading as well as persistent hangars and how they work most likely too.
With that in mind the MISC Hull C Heavy Cargo Hauler is planned here currently too… this will allow for massive amount of cargo to be transported in game and the smallest box it can attach to it’s spindles are 32 SCU shipping containers.
Another reasonably major gameplay loop seeing implementation is Hacking. You’ll be able to hack a whole range of things for mission and access purposes not just to try and remove your criminal rating. There will be hacking tools / USB type devices, consoles/interfaces and a minigame associated displayed on your visor HUD. I am expecting hacking to be important in just general missions, for exploration around POI and getting more loot as a reward.
We are getting various FPS updates, giving us an FPS Radar and Scanning… this is supposed to be more audio detection or at least have that as an element of it. We may see other scanning/radar improvements for ships here too.
We are also getting EVA updates with fuel being a factor in your movement while in space, you’ll be able to push and pull yourself around with your hands and use the gravity tool more appropriately to help you.
This could be a mixture of fun and terrifying… based on how much fuel you have in EVA.
Pirate / Vanduul Swarm Update for a more engaging player experience and making better use of the newer AC levels. I am expecting ship & loadout changes… maybe and hopefully we will see the new scythe and glaive for the Vanduul added here too. I am expecting this to make the modes reasonably fund to play again.
So that’s what is on the Roadmap Currently… but what else is possible here in 3.18 at the moment?
I heard rumors of updating missions allowing you to drag and rescue or capture NPCs.
Various gold standard passes of ships.
AI and NPC updates allowing for more interaction and shop types.
Various Server Updates, Potentially much deeper Gen12 Render / Vulkan Integration.
I think we can expect to see more economy updates and more interesting items and loot to find.
We know CI have been working on fire and fire extinguishers.
There are various ships/vehicles that potentially could be ready OR newly announced here.
I am expecting to see some updates to the reputation system and probably some dynamic universe sim updates if they aren’t already in 3.17.
We know that CI also want to get modularity in for ships like the retaliator. Physical components like shield emitters.
General spacescaping and planetary updates. Rivers are also something that might be being tested around here.. Maybe…
Obviously anything that doesn’t make the 3.17 cut is likely to be pushed into this patch too.
Now some people thing that 3.18 may well be the last major patch before 4.0… and it’s possible… CI have said they want that new Star System Pyro, early SM and JumpPoints out Q3/Q4 of this year and that would be the patch starting the 4.0 tree of the game.
Please remember that these roadmaps and plans often change and some features could very well be delayed, new ones might turn up, the patch itself could see a long PTU cycle… things happen Star Citizen is an Alpha BUT thats the current targets and plans as we know them… and we will continue to cover them as they evolve.