We have some updates on Star Citizen Alpha 3.17.2’s plans as well as Devs talking about Ship Balance, Gameplay Features and what we can expect over the next few quarters.
Star Citizen Alpha 3.17.2 has a variety of new features and CI have recently develve into 2 of them in more detail in a recent ISC.
Criminal / Outlaw Delivery Missions and Scaling Combat Assist Beacon Improvements.
They are adding Delivery Missions that are from a new contractor “Red Wind” which are the first in part of an initiative to add more gameplay for outlaw and criminal players.
These missions will start with what appears to be reasonable deliveries… sometimes with some questionable goods that might end you up in a bit of trouble if you are interdicted and caught with them BUT then as you earn more reputation with “Red Wind” (assuming you do well in the missions) you’ll unlock more dangerous and very much illegal deliveries. Expect to be interdicted and run from the law when you are caught. With this higher risk comes higher rewards.
This is a great addition adding the other side to delivery missions. At the locations you are picking up and dropping off items you may encounter other players doing similar things… and they might not be friendly.
They are also going to be adding different sizes of parcels including pocket sized items that you might want to smuggle into landing zones BUT will have consequences if they are found on you. They are going to be having all shapes, types and sizes. And they will be expanding out all types of delivery missions as they go forward.
Another update to gameplay coming in Alpha 3.17.2 you might not of been aware of is Combat Service Beacons.
They are making them scalable with a difficulty level ranging from 1 – 10.
You’ll be exposed to the difficulty when you are browsing missions.
Combat Service Beacons are intended to be a quick access to combat missions where you can pick one, assess if you need to bring friends and then jump to the location.
There will be much more variety in ships and enemies you encounter.
A level 1 mission might be an undamaged ship being attacked by a single perpetrator.
A level 10 mission could be a damaged ship being attacked by a group of enemies and potentially an Idris… they will require a group or large ship to deal with most likely. And that is one of the major goals from Star Citizen to get these harder missions to be done multiplayer.
As you rank up and build rep by doing these missions you will unlock harder and rarer ones.
We also had a Star Citizen Live : All-Ships Q&A which had a huge amount of information, which we will see implemented over several quarters… but things like balance and flight / weapon updates will be seen in 3.17.2 and each patch…
What is the current status of physicalized armour, damage and components?
Physical Damage is being worked on, they are looking to solve some smaller scale implementations before moving onto using it for spaceships. VFX are doing various simulations on different types of damage, crumpling, mesh sim, deformation etc… Armour is a by product of this work.
Physicalized Components wise they are (in the very near future) going to be going back over older ships and making sure they have the correct cupboards, containers and areas for components to be housed in. Once this is done they will be in a better position to add Components to all ships BUT it’s going to be a slow burn over many months. We may see some minor changes to some ships’ interiors to accommodate this.
Medium Fighter & Balance Updates?
They are actively working on balance on ships, they are looking to move combat speeds down so that medium and heavy fighters and turrets are more powerful. This is the next step in the overall balance pass that CI are planning. This should help differentiate ships and give them more tangible benefits / drawbacks based on your needs. They don’t want fast paced jousting zooming past each other then being km’s away, they want more of a brawl and dogfight at closer distances. Balance is ongoing and will be for a long time until and form of final balance is done… this is because they are still building, the game, systems, weapons and ships.
Once they have completed the speed / balance update they will be updating shields to have various advantages and disadvantages. They want to have a diversity of ship loadouts and choice.
Ballistic ammo and it’s low amount are working mostly as intended from their POV.
Things like the Ares Ion will see more balance changes in the future along with everything else… but they don’t want an OP 1 shot kill weapon really.
There are various ships in the pipeline that will be making use of ship tractor beams.
Hand held tractor beams are very similar tech wise. They have working prototypes in Dev Branch. They want to improve HuDs and feedback for them.
They also need to update the IFCS system to be aware that it may interact with tractor beams.
Stealth is going to be getting updates in the future.
Brining 2 ships or a ship with 2 seats will be getting balanced so there isn’t an obvious winner every time in which is the best choice. So expect turret, system and multi-crew improvements.
Vehicle in Ship spawning is coming, they are waiting to have resources free to finish off implementing it. This is true of ship modularity too… they were working on it but the teams were needed on something higher priority… they will be working on modularity in the future.
Escape Pods – Not all ships will have escape pods, they will be working on these more in the future probably after physical damage and components are implemented. BUT you won’t have to worry about ships just immediately exploding every time… you’ll typically be disabled, potentially be able to repair damage, or at least have time to get to a pod.
They are working on VTOL with ships overheating from extended vtol use on planets and this would cause them to eventually start hovering down to land.
The Cargo Refactor in Alpha 3.18 should have the Stor-All box on the Aurora Functional.
They may look at a ground vehicle for refuelling. They even briefly talked about large multi-level ground vehicles.
The Polaris has seen an update to it’s hangar, it’s got a docking collar and the ship is a little larger. It will fight most light – medium fighters.
Next Quarter we should see some updated interiors of the 600i. The rear inside of that ship has been largely changed on both variants.
The Retaliator update will be completed once they have some additional resources to work on it. They want to do some updates to the Starfarers interior too.
Why are some ships chosen to be added to the game or be updated over others?
Well Squadron 42 ships are typically prioritised for Gold standard or implementation.
Then for other ships for the PU they schedule in ships that fit to their schedule’s targets or might have some gameplay they want to get added. Sometimes larger ships like the Polaris would take the whole team many months to complete, where they could fit in many more small ships and other projects with those resources. Ships being released regularly and ones that have a purpose in game are typically the priorities for the PU.
CI’s studios expanding should give a lot more resources to a lot more ships and mechanics in the not too distant future.