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Star Citizen Alpha 3.18 Now Has A Massive Amount Of Major New Features

Star Citizen Alpha 3.18 is the next big patch release that CI have planned, it’s features and schedule have changed somewhat over the last few months. So let’s take a deeper look at each of the features that this patch is planned to have and what we know about them.

Release Dates – It’s currently expected that 3.18 will go into Evocati or Early Closed PTU Testing for the end of September. CI want to have 3.18 out to live by mid November just ahead of the IAE. This is reasonably close to deadline for CI as 3.18 will have bits needed for the IAE.

I think there is always the potential for the IAE or features to be delayed or for 3.18 content to be split into 3.18.0 and 3.18.1 patches… But it’s also quite possible they will hit their targets and most or all of the patch features will make it in.

Salvage is one of the most anticipated gameplay additions coming to Star Citizen and in Alpha 3.18 this is going to be Hull-Stripping or Scrapping.

The Drake Vulture will be in 3.18 and able be able to use it’s lasers to scape the hulls of ships collecting RMC (Recycled Materials Composite). This is very similar to mining and has new damage states so you can see where has been damaged or stripped. This material can then be dispensed into a cargo box. The Reclaimer can do the same on a larger scale with it’s 2 manned salvage laser turrets, then dispensing the salvage and placing it in it’s cargo grid, it’s a multi-crew operation. You will be able to salvage Player and NPC ships BUT NOT outposts or ships that are part of missions / setpieces at this stage.

You will also be able to Salvage by hand using a multi-tool with Salvage attachment.

Stripping the hull will fill canisters with RMC and the same tool can be used to repair a ships Hull… but it will show obvious signs of battlescars. There are filler stations on the Vulture and Reclaimer for you to get RMC “ammo” too.

Persistent Entity Streaming (PES) is a core technology for Star Citizen. This will allow every dynamic object to persist when placed on a server and server states won’t be lost so these items will cause lasting changes.  

For 3.18 this is focusing on the foundational tech, but there are some big limitations here.

Although you could hide a stash of weapons somewhere you unfortunately won’t necessarily get back on the server you left them on when you log back on in this implementation of PES.

The Tech will allow for SM, Base Building and a Fully Persistent Universe in the Future.

Cargo Refactor – This refactor of the ship cargo system will allow both found and purchased cargo to be picked up, moved around, and placed into the cargo grid of a ship. You can expect more interactivity with your cargo & commodities. We don’t have the full details of the implementation in 3.18 but we know that CIG want to have Times and Costs associated with loading and unloading cargo and various types and sizes of cargo containers.

The Drake Corsair was recently added to the list of Features for the Alpha 3.18 patch. This will see the popular no frills multi-crew explorer flyable.

There is an in depth Daymar Crash Site that combines a derelict 600i, Mercury Star Runner & Junker Settlement all together. This site will have missions tied to it and various gameplay opportunities including exploration & combat. There is the potential that we will get the 600i and MSR appearing as derelicts in other locations and space at the same time too.

There are Additional Rivers & Lakes that will appear on microTech & Hurston. We know there are new River Tools and we can probably expect some visual updates here too.

A New Sand Cave Archetype is being added that we will see on Daymar (at least to start with). They will only have FPS entrances so no vehicle versions in this iteration nor are there any expected missions tied to them in 3.18 again that will be coming later. You can expect to see sandstone, better lighting and various improvements that they have made to the traversal, tech and tools… CI are also working on Acid, Ice & Overgrown type caves for the future too.

There are New Accessible Platforms & Missions planned at Orison with various Bounty, Assassinate, Clear All and Other Opportunities there. Bringing some of that Siege Of Orison style of gameplay on a smaller scale even when that event isn’t running.

There is a Greycat PTV (Golf Buggy) Race Track also on Crusader at the Orison Vision Centre making use of that Expo Hall even when a major event isn’t running. Players will be able to participate in Buggy Races here tho what form of in game enforcement these have remains to be seen.

Kelsher Prison is getting a variety of new Missions & Activities associated with it.

NPCs are getting added to the Mining and Cave areas, you’ll be able to hunt them down and steal their stuff. There will be reasons to raid stashes and return the items to the main prison. Problem Prisoners will have bounties on their heads. There is also a darkzone that will allowing missions from “outside” Klesher to be taken… I expect some tweaks to general prison design and gameplay too.

Security Post Kareah –  will be taking a more central role in Stanton’s security. Crusader Security have moved in a full-time staff and have begun storing confiscated contraband aboard. The station will be off limits to all civilians, unless given prior authorization.

They are making it the only place you can Hack Down your criminal rating. Which will help make it a hotzone. They are adding various defences there with turrets and security NPCs.

Killing the security staff there will spawn a boss… who has a code / access to the evidence / confiscated goods locker if you take them out, and you can keep spawning loot there… (almost like jumptown) however bounty hunter missions will be generated to deal with players that kill guards and overstay their welcome at SPK. CI warned lawful players not to touch the confiscated goods.

There are some relatively major Crime Stat Changes that are being tested for 3.18.

That wold have players with upto a CS2  no longer lawful to attack and allowed to land at all LZs to pay off their fines along with a bunch of bug fixes.

CI have implied that there may be some significant Gen12 Renderer Updates with Alpha 3.18. It looks like some form of initial implementation a T0 may be on the cards. This will make Star Citizen more scalable and performant on a wider range of systems as well as potentially giving us some more visual benefits.

We know that the IAE be part of 3.18 and run during it’s cycle. The IAE is one of the biggest events each year in Star Citizen where almost every ship goes on sale, including the massive ones, there a freefly and dozens of ships to try for free at the in game expo.

That’s what we know is currently planned but there are some other maybes and potentials here too.

There could be some New unannounced Ships and vehicles, especially seeing it’s around the IAE.

Also CI have been keenly working on the Hull C for a while now and it would be the perfect ship for any new cargo gameplay that the refactor might bring. So maybe they might have that ready?

There have also been a lot of sneak peeks with various FPS Volt Electron Weapons from pistols to SMGs, that look like they might be ready.

Please bear in mind that more features could turn up. There are likely a whole host of minor updates and fixes that CIG have yet to mention, optimizations, improvements, there may be missions associated with the new content. 

AND conversely we could see features slip. There were some concerns about the Cargo refactor not being mentioned by CI for a while BUT they have said currently it’s still planned for release with 3.18.
Boom that’s it for what we are now expecting in the Alpha 3.18 patch.